The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali -- Chapter Two -- Sadhana Pada (The Chapter on Effective Practices)

Synopsis: Sadhana means spiritual practice. Yoga sadhana is something a yogi "does" in order to move from a pre-existing disconnected, fragmented, and dispirited way of life, while shifting into making the connections with the integral whole where one's innate living spirit is given wings. Here we learn experientially through practice, versus by following dictums, memorizing politically correct beliefs, through proven theories (pramana), inference, conceptualization (vikalpa), or any of the other vrtti. Practice, practice. practice, is the mantra here. Authentic yoga is not for the academic observer, but for the yoga practitioner. Mountain yogis have little need of books because they have in their presence a living oral and transverbal tradition. However modern man lives in a very ego driven materialistic setting (Kali Yuga) and hence the yogic practices have to relate to that situation in order to be relevant and useful. It is key not to attempt to place yoga within the Western or modern context (as it will never fit because the whole is much larger than its fragmented parts), but rather to place the modern context within the context of yoga.

Although Patanjali gave many practices (sadhana) as remedies (pratishedha) for that situation of spiritual estrangement in Pada I (such as vairagya, nirodha, virama-pratyaya, isvara pranidhana, dhyana, eka-tattvabhyasa, japa, shradda, virya, prajna, maitri, karuna, upeksanam, mudita, bhava, and especially rtam prajna (the self arising truth bearing seed which is the practice of no practice), it is here in Pada II, that Patanjali focuses upon practices in a more concrete and focused way. Practice is thus the way we learn through self discovery in functional yoga which is different from the methodology of philosophy, logic, religion, or any "ism".

Since the need for practice assumes a pre-existing disconnection (from samadhi), hence remedies (pratishedha) are presented as sadhana (practices), eventually going beyond remedies to acknowledging and directly merging with our innate evolutionary power. Where Pada I (Samadhi Pada) outlined the contextual framework of the disconnection or spiritual malaise and its general resolution in deep samadhi; here, Pada II, acts as a continuation of the outline sketched in Pada I, where now Patanjali focuses upon the basic and auxiliary practices as remedies and what the remedies actually remediate (kleshas and karma).

If we keep our focus in our yoga practice keeps the integrity of a living spirit -- the innate primordial consciousness which is linked via the innate evolutionary power which underlies all of life, then the practice thus becomes both devotional and revelatory -- self liberating and self motivating. Then sadhana becomes a practice of bringing more clarity, truth, integrity, heart consciousness, light, joy, and love into all facets of our lives. As such it has its own innate and profound momentum and enthusiasm as it aligns itself with the universe and universal power (shakti). As such authentic yoga sadhana has nothing to do with externally imposed discipline, hard work, force, comparative power over others, or an individual/selfish willfulness. That way it is not willful nor mechanical in the ordinary sense, because the authentic goal of yoga is to align the individual will with the universal will and power, to enter into a profound harmony, balance, and integral alignment of the power of consciousness because the yoga practitioner gradually ceases identifying with only the body or as a separate egoic/limited "self". Rather the sadhak (practitioner) no longer lives in an estranged "world" of being apart from nature, but rather as a vital part of nature and its beginningless source (creation) being consciously united. Thus yoga (as this integrative process), is a process of surrendering to a very large all encompassing intelligent sacred dynamic. Simultaneously, one surrenders the tendency to disintegrate, to isolate, and become apart from it. Just to say a mechanical and willful approach is a common trap that has seduced many. It can be avoided through balancing it with bhakti (its devotional elements). Human beings have a natural innate impetus toward communion/union and integrity, but it has become beaten out of many and perverted by negative conditioning. It is that negative conditioning that authentic yogic practice destroys.

Integrity is the kind of ultimate completion felt as santosha (sense of fulfillment, completion, and peace) that authentic yoga affords in the beginning, the middle and the end. That instruction as the innate presence of eternal Now awareness which we can focus upon now and always. That is the gift we give to ourselves via yoga. In the end -- when re-union consciously is achieved in samadhi we surrender the practice itself, because there is no need for it. May your sadhana be graced with love, peace, wisdom, light, and joy and all encompassing unbounded completion..

Brief Synopsis of Sadhana Pada

Sadhana Pada Patanjali then progresses from the overall context of yoga delineated in Pada I, to presenting the various techniques and practices of yoga (sadhana), starting off with Kriya Yoga (pre-requisite purification) activities (tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana). These three are often greatly misinterpreted by intellectuals, academicians, and religionists who look at them from the outside. We will point out the common mistakes of such coarse misinterpretations.

Sutras II.1-2 tell us that kriya yoga attenuates the kleshas (obstructions/hindrances to free spiritual flow) and hence samadhi is brought forward in that way.

Sutras II.3-9 proceeds with more detailed descriptions of the kleshas, karma, vrtti, and thus how suffering/distress (duhkha) arises. This outlines the vast depth of yoga psycho-pathology.

Sutras II.10-11 describes how to eliminate the kleshas and karma in general via pratiprasava and meditation (dhyana),.

Sutras II 12-16 describes the cause and origins of the kleshas and how the relationships between the kleshas, karma, and vrtti.

Sutras II.17-26 describes how the kleshas and suffering are maintained via samyoga (false identification), confusion (avidya), and eventually how they are destroyed through an informed conscious yoga practice that both heightens and utilizes viveka (powers of differentiation). This ends the psychopathology sections of how karma, klesha, citta-vrtti, delusion, fear, craving, hatred, ego, and delusion interact to create suffering.

Viveka is presented as a gradual process of emptying the contents of the mind from frozen fixations of stagnant citta-vrtti associations with gross and vague ordinary consciousness to an awareness of a profound integral mutuality which underlies the entire universe in its true holographic arrangement. This is accomplished through seven levels of practices which wake us up -- opening up the inner organ of clear vision leading to samadhi (the eighth limb of ashtanga yoga). With that process in mind, the practice of viveka is introduced, which potentiates and extends prajna (intrinsic wisdom) by both removing the two extremes of false identification where the conflation that is called samyoga, which produces false identification and bondage.

From II.27-55 (the end) At sutra 27 astanga yoga (eight-limbed) is introduced as an awareness practice culminating is samadhi. Awareness is sharpened so that the one is found in the all, and the all in the one. Astanga yoga (eight-limbed) is presented as a method to sharpen, strengthen, and extend the expedient means of viveka-khyater which is first utilized as discriminatory awareness, understanding the relative relationship between objects and the observer, leading to a profoundly heightened differentiated and integrated consciousness where we may discern the light of the intrinsic unborn wisdom in All Our Relations. All illness and ignorance is a result from this split from primordial wisdom. That split of ignoring primordial wisdom is avidya (ignorance). In short ashtanga yoga is presented as the remedy to the illness perpetuated by the kleshas (ignorance and egoic delusion) and karma (past causes and conditions). Eventually a sublime balance, alignment, integration, harmony, and holographic synchronicity is realized. A profound shift and healing in the practitioner is effected, as one becomes aware and aligns body, mind, breath, creation/creator in one synergistic harmonious process thus residing more continuously in samadhi, eventually becoming its active expression.

HERE the yoga practitioner refines their discernment of "self" and "other" starting off with elementary self awareness and individuation. Then the dynamic relationship between the observer and the observed, the seer and the seen becomes increasingly conscious, refined, and subtilized in ever expanding terms which increasingly reveals an all pervasive Holographic Integrity culminating in samadhi. Such does not end as the primitive individuation process or object relations as outlined in Western psychology, but rather it it is a transpersonal process of realizing the "one in the many" and "the many in the one". The yoga process, not being a belief or ideology, has to be discovered through practice -- experienced in full participation. The practice reveals both subjectively and objectively, inner and outer, a true naturally open and pure non-dual Self awareness where the apparent differentiations of phenomenal reality is experienced as luminous, radiant, intelligent, vivid, and alive with living spirit. Without Holographic Self awareness true awareness of "reality-as-it-is" is blocked or distorted. Without knowing the true relationship between the seer and the seen in context, reality is skewed. Astanga yoga hence ends in samadhi, in the profound vivid and radiant space of ultimate union between the differentiated everchanging and evolving divine shakti who is intimately pervaded and integrated by the presence of the undifferentiated eternal (shiva). Shiva is contained by shakti and within him. Shiva is within all. Shakti thus makes it possible for siva to come alive and embodied HERE in the integrated realm of shiva/shakti where consciousness and matter, spirit and nature, undifferentiated and differentiated realities are experienced as inseparable -- as a living holographic Great expanse.

Viveka is not a concept but a process of psychic evolution of consciousness where objects of thought are compared with each other until the unbounded and unbiased whole is consulted as judge.

1) Without viveka man is not conscious or aware. Then awareness of "things, events, and an observer who is observing them may develop. This may be considered to be an elementary aspect of viveka as a human being's recognition of his own awareness or mindfulness

2) With the awakening of viveka, man starts to become increasingly more conscious of his conditions, conditioning, and mental processes. This is the elementary modality of viveka as discriminatory awareness. This discrimination operates comparably in the realm of a profound mutuality and relationship of perceived phenomena. In yoga viveka is much more than simply a statement of difference between two or more objects nor an analytical breakdown or isolation of objects into its parts.

3) With further practice and awakening the sadhak becomes more conscious increasingly recognizing more of the contents and mental processes of his mind (samprajnata and pratyaksa) as limitations`to self awareness; i.e., how causes and conditions not only modify the amorphous energetic and physical existence, but also one's own state of mind (citta-vrtti). This is the beginning of the more subtle refinement of viveka as a vast process of spiritual discrimination in the sense of recognizing and honoring the vast multiplicity and diversity of creation as being interconnected and co arising as well as our ability to recognize the true nature of phenomena. This occurs as the citta-vrtta fade away or cease (citta-vrtti nirodha). The yogi starts to recognize his/her own bias, colorings, hindrances, obscurations, afflictive mental emotional patterns (kleshas) and false limited self identifications in relationship to objects, thus allowing her/him to let them go (vairagya) surrendering one's previously self limiting bondage (ego) to the more expansive and rich natural dynamic and inherently intelligent processes of natural (sahaj) yoga.

4) As practice (sadhana) succeeds itself the bonds of samyoga (false egoic identifications/conflations) are broken, and concurrently a new awareness as a recognition of a profound all encompassing mutuality/presence inherent in all beings and things is revealed. Hence the sadhana becomes self liberating through practice. As the evolutionary power along with its intelligent consciousness (being inseparable) moves through the human vehicle, the preexisting fragmented and disorganized nervous system, nadis, and neurophysiology are reorganized, realigned, and attuned so that primordial natural and innate order is restored. Therein the human being acts as an active expression of the evolutionary power spontaneously and naturally.

Negative conditioning tends to blur our vision (avidya instead of vidya is heightened). As we have seen, samyoga is the sleepy state of a bland sameness, blocked creative energy, and indifference which inures us to ignorance (the blockage of creative pure vision). Samyoga fixations are broken up via viveka, which is an innate power brought forward into fruition via astanga yoga. Although the power of viveka is innate, in humans who have become conditioned/programmed viveka starts off as a beginning limited awareness (or a recognition of very limited sub-consciousness). Then further practice breaks the bonds of unconscious habits and karmic propensities (vasana) separating the observer from its false identification. That separation/isolation is where most samkhya interpreters end, but to go further in the culmination of yoga as union. after the associations of the fixated boundaries of samyoga are broken apart, then a profound alignment and mutuality in unity with all beings and things as-it-is in swarupa is attained, as one's true unconditioned nature of mind - all pervasive and never ending. In short, in yogic non-dual realization there is neither a fixated identification with everything else, nor a separation. Rather undifferentiated (absolute) reality and differentiated (relative) reality are both understood to be inseparable and undivided, as each illumines and reveals the other.

First one has to have that awareness activated inside to a certain degree, in order to effect it as an operant in daily life activities -- to activate it further. That is what asana and yogic practices (sadhana) effect. It activates a recognition at first. It is really quite natural (as evolution is natural), but in human society it is not "normal". It would be an error to not recognize evolutionary power in the universe (the so called outer world) as being separate from that evolutionary force which is innate within all humans as part of this universal self existing order (dharma), but such mostly dormant or repressed (unconscious) in man. In fact this power and consciousness as conscious power, or the power of consciousness are made of the same "stuff" and thus are mutual synergists once this relationship is recognized. Again spiritual sadhana (practice) activates this awareness, and the awareness itself in turn makes the Sadhana even more effective and successful activating it. Hence viveka both is the goal and the activator of astanga yoga as we will see in II.27 and onward.

"The gnosis is the effective principle of the Spirit, a highest dynamic of the spiritual existence. The gnostic individual would be the consummation of the spiritual man; his whole way of being, thinking, living, acting would be governed by the power of a vast universal spirituality. All the trinities of the Spirit would be real to his self-awareness and realized in his inner life. All his existence would be fused into oneness with the transcendent and universal Self and Spirit; all his action would originate from and obey the supreme Self and Spirit's divine governance of Nature. All life would have to him the sense of the Conscious Being, the Purusha within, finding its self-expression in Nature; his life and all its thoughts, feelings, acts would be filled for him with that significance and built upon that foundation of its reality. He would feel the presence of the Divine in every centre of his consciousness, in every vibration of his life-force, in every cell of his body. In all the workings of his force of Nature he would be aware of the workings of the supreme World-Mother, the Supernature; he would see his natural being as the becoming and manifestation of the power of the World-Mother. In this consciousness he would live and act in an entire transcendent freedom, a complete joy of the spirit, an entire identity with the cosmic self and a spontaneous sympathy with all in the universe. All beings would be to him his own selves, all ways and powers of consciousness would be felt as the ways and powers of his own universality. But in that inclusive universality there would be no bondage to inferior forces, no deflection from his own highest truth: for this truth would envelop all truth of things and keep each in its own place, in a relation of diversified harmony, - it would not admit any confusion, clash, infringing of boundaries, any distortion of the different harmonies that constitute the total harmony. His own life and the world life would be to him like a perfect work of art; it would be as if the creation of a cosmic and spontaneous genius infallible in its working out of a multitudinous order. The gnostic individual would be in the world and of the world, but would also exceed it in his consciousness and live in his self of transcendence above it; he would be universal but free in the universe, individual but not limited by a separative individuality. The True Person is not an isolated entity, his individuality is universal; for he individualizes the universe: it is at the same time divinely emergent in a spiritual air of transcendental infinity, like a high cloud-surpassing summit; for he individualizes the divine Transcendence."

Sri Aurobindo, "The Future Evolution of Man" Chapter 8

Thus four steps can be discerned that can be discerned apart from the total subjectivity of an infant devoid of self awareness or conscious awareness. Although the infant eventually learns elementary self awareness, which could be also called healthy "object relations" in modern psychological terms, or individuation in Jungian terms these are all elementary states of fragmentary awareness.

According to Sri Aurobindo then, first the ability to recognize the role of mental consciousness and our actual situation; i.e., the ability to isolate conscious awareness from phenomena, thus recognizing the role of the mind in framing "reality". This heightened awareness of the role of mind and observer is still dualistic -- the so called, "objective or independent isolated mental "freedom" of samkhya. Eventually this objective awareness has to be applied inward, to the true nature of awareness itself (the so-called mind).

Second then, there is the subjective experience of universal consciousness (cit) as being omnipresent and all pervading in all beings and things -- in all of nature and evolution. There is god, there is god, everything as a holographic bit of god consciousness, reflecting the hologram. But god or the hologram can not be successfully reified. In the holographic context, the observer no one can be apart or excluded, rather one is an intimate part (participant) of that very intelligent evolutionary process as we will see.

Thirdly this leads one to a heightened awareness of a profound mutual synergistic synchronicity, as the wisdom eye opens (supramental or siva) then our awareness of the evolutionary power increases (supernature or shakti), so that this synergistic synchronicity becomes accelerated in continuity as All Our Relations -- as an integrative boundless seamless unified interactive wholistic Great Living Integrity. Yet the human being has not yet activated his role as mother/father -- seeder/planter and catalyst. This is non-dual, transpersonal, and transconceptual direct experience. Next to come is conscious inter-action.

Fourthly, that leads to a supernatural or profound sacred encounter between the awakened yogi and all of creation (siva/shakti) where sacred space is created; where a portal or open doorway into a inter dimensional timeless space is effected -- the Shambhala-like multiverse/buddhaverse is opened while Buddhafields are expanded naturally in its natural expression of evolutionary activity and integrity -- a profound or sacred mutuality is awakened, activated, vivified, and expressed as All Our Relations as the expression of timeless love. Here the vast potentiality of primordial wisdom effortlessly manifests as in a transconceptual amorphous vivid and radiant display as human beings awaken to their creative/evolutionary potential -- their inner/outer alignment, allied in a common rhapsodic love, purpose, celebration, and unconditional happiness and freedom.

"What we call 'concrete,' a concrete reality. --yes, what gives you the sense of a 'real' existence—that particular sensation has to disappear and be replaced by.... It's beyond words.... It's all-light, all-power, all intensity of love at the same time, and a fullness! It is so full that nothing else can exist beside that. And when "that" is here, in the body, in the cells, it's enough to direct 'it' onto someone or something, and everything falls immediately into place. So, in ordinary terms, it 'heals'": the illness is cured. No! it doesn't cure it: it cancels it! That's it, the illness is made unreal.... For it isn't the action of a "higher force" through matter, into others: it's a direct action, from matter to matter. What people usually call "healing power" is a great mental or vital power imposing itself despite the resistance of matter — that's not at all the case here! It is the contagion of a vibration. So it's irrevocable."

The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 12 July 1967.

What this truly portends is inscrutable to the intellect, and can only is be experienced through non-dual/transconceptual wisdom. Hence authentic yoga provides effective practices which through which direct experience (experiential knowledge) is accessible. Matter is not "just" matter, but mater and pater, integral and inseparable. The amorphous morphogenic resonances of nature responds to mind, vibration, and the whologram as a whole, hence from that vast integration (samadhi) all and everything become articulated.

Pada II ends with presenting the first five limbs (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyhara) of astanga yoga. Toward the end of Pada II in the discussion of ashtanga yoga, Patanjali again brings up the valuable practices of Kriya Yoga (swadhyaya or self study, tapas or kindling divine passion through renouncing nonproductive activity, and isvara pranidhana surrender to the highest formless Self), thus emphasizing their value when they are functionally understood both as purification practices as well as mutual synergists with the other limbs (of astanga). Thus here in Pada II, Patanjali, briefly prepares us for the last three and most subtle practices of ashtanga yoga found in the beginning of Chapter III (Vibhuti Pada). These last three limbs are generally considered the higher or more subtle inner practices of astanga yoga being dharana (concentration techniques), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (integrative absorption) to a gradual degree of increasing subtleness, until the samadhi beyond all subtlety, where all seeds of falling back out of union ceases in (nirbij samadhi).


Pada II Sutra 1

Tapah-svadhyayesvara-pranidhanani kriya-yogah

The applications of tapas (the practice of heightening our spiritual passion), swadhyaya ( the practice of self study, self observation, or self awareness), and isvara pranidhana (the ability to acknowledge, to listen to, and to act from our innate seed source of inner guidance, which is the universal source of omniscient Now awareness) are the three premier activities (kriya) that lead the yogi to realizing the fruit of yoga.

Tapas: P practices which fuel the spiritual flame. Spiritual passion. heat, or fire generated by plugging the dissipative leaks of energy through renouncing distractions such as unconscious or unwise degenerate, materialistic, non-productive activities of body, mind, or speech and thus creating open space that redirects those vectors toward fruitful spiritual practice (sadhana). Tapas is on a coarse level at first simple renunciation and is thus coarse and physical on that level.. It is not forceful restraint, repression, or self-abnegation. Nor is tapas mere withdrawal/passivity. The secondary coarse aspect of tapas is then the redirection of the pranic energy back into its natural constellation and hence it is NOT sublimation nor neurotic displacement. On a heightened and more subtle level, tapas is tapping into and allying oneself with this universal evolutionary movement/vector, thus it is more than effortless and spontaneous, rather it is moving, Self propelling, and energizing.

On the coarse and immature level one has a choice to decide to move in the direction of profane/mundane and neurotic passion (the external or objectified world), or redirect that impulse so as to be guided by increasing the communion with evolutionary spiritual force depending on one's level of spiritual intelligence/ability. The yogi embraces the latter. As a more subtle practice, the yogi creates spaces/pauses inbetween thoughts, allowing for the evolutionary energy or cit-prana to guide the moment. In mature tapas, this vector occurs consciously and spontaneously without willful choice or decision. Rather it is guided by a well recognized inner wisdom gleaned through preliminary practice. Thus it concentrates and effects our ability to harmonize with and express divine or evolutionary will, reflecting its innate order and intelligence..

Swadhyaya: The practice of self-study; self observation; self awareness; the process of knowing true self nature (swarupa-sunyam in samadhi) or Self (both passive and active). The true Self is not found in books.

Kriya: The word, kriya, can have many meanings It can mean activity, action, or divine activity (as in Kriya Shakti). It is also used to mean purification activity, preparation, preliminary practices, and pre-requisite, or primary practices. In yoga, the primary practices can also be the premier and hence superior practices, while the secondary practices are taken up as a supplement, only if the the practitioner fails in the primary or premier practice. Here we will use the word, premier, as Kriya Yoga is proactive to the kleshas rather than remedial. It is thus an affirmation of Self and hence closer to Self realization than the remedial practices which remedy the kleshic activity.

Isvara pranidhana: Is a practice of dedication, devotion, or surrender to our innermost heart/core Self, our greatest evolutionary potential, the transpersonal all encompassing Self. Beyond prayer and asking for guidance, it is listening to that Self as guidance, eventually moving in harmony and integrity with isvara as its expression in one's very life as Self expression. "Ish" means "inner" and svara is "master" or teacher. Thus one recognizes and gets in touch with one's intimate innate hereditary master teacher and becomes Self directed by one's true inner natural evolutionary Self (the teacher of even the most ancient of teachers). Also vara may be defined as grace, so isvara can be defined as an inner and implicate grace. Thus, isvara pranidhana is acknowledgement and surrender to one's innermost teacher called by the yogis, self emergent grace. As such isvara pranidhana is non-self doing (selfless action). (I.26).

Commentary: Another way of translating this is that a successful yoga practice is based upon the activities (kriya) of increasing spiritual passion/inspiration (the spiritual engine), self study, and observation (understanding the true nature of Self), and surrendering to the ever-present universal sublime intelligence that is at the universal center core/heart of *HEART* [which is formless, all pervading, and universal]. These three are fundamental for success in yoga.

Tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana all work together as an effective unit as kriya yoga. For example first there is self awareness of a pre-existing dissipating or distracting pattern (swadhyaya). Then one suspends or renounces that activity (tapas) freeing up new energy to fuel a heightened onepointed dedication toward the heart of yoga (isvara pranidhana). One's practice thus leads more onepointedly toward samadhi.

In an advanced stage of kriya yoga. one recognizes a state of non-dual Self and abandons not-Self through a refined/heightened self-awareness (as self-study) on a daily and moment to moment (continuous) basis. At the same time one recognizes the distinction between dissipative and degenerate activities on one hand, and integrative activities on the other, thus moving into the direction (vector) of spiritual fire (tapas), while lastly at the same time, one moves into the Integrated Self as the All-Self (selfless), becoming the arms and legs of its descent, it manifestation, expression, or sublime transpersonal evolutionary activity (isvara pranidhana). At this point the three elements of Kriya Yoga have become one.

Technically, the practice of yoga (sadhana) is the ongoing never-ending process, the verb and activity that fulfills, an interface tool/procedure, the intelligent process of continuous transformational re-configuration, and the most subtle technique that merges us to mesh in harmony with the deepest meaningful currents of Reality (wherein the true self nature or true identity can be realized in swarupa-sunyam). In this first sutra of pada two, Patanjali is telling us that to begin yoga practice -- as its preliminaries (kriyas), so that it can be eventually successful, these three powerful kriya practices are of immense value capable of leading the inspired practitioner to the deepest successful the yogic process (by becoming connected with primordial awareness (eternal spiritual presence) in our daily life as sublime Divine Presence within its boundless all fulfilling complete continuity (integrity). That living integral presence is our guide and friend. Indeed the universalist definition of isvara pranidhana is just that, surrendering to eternal spirit in everyday life -- at every moment -- in All Our Relations. This is knowing the true unadorned Self as-it-is (swadhyaya); while it is tapas that kindles the fire to help us get HERE and keeping us on the path. Realization of this Integral Self, negates the possibility of a separate/independent self (except as a limitation and delusion).

As defined elsewhere, tapas is the heat, fire, and transforming impetus that catalyzes the yogi's practice. Swadhyaya is self observation, self-awareness, and self-inquiry. Isvara means the inner (ishta) teacher/master (isvara). Pranidhana is acknowledgement, focused dedication, and on pointed devotion. In this case isvara pranidhana is listening for and openness to the inner transpersonal/interpersonal innate omnipresent guidance which is nirvikalpa (which is transconceptual) and omniscient. In that sense isvara pranidhana is focusing on the true nature of our own mind as it truly is beyond delusion. That is found in samadhi (swarupa-sunyam) as defined by Sri Patanjali in III.3.

We will run into these three practices (tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana) again many times in the Yoga Sutras (as they also comprise the three of the five niyams of ashtanga yoga); and we have already discussed isvara pranidhana as the teacher of all teachers (purvesham) in Pada I, Sutras 23-27. So one may ask, why does Patanjali put them here at the beginning of Sadhana Pada (the Chapter of Practices) again? This is because they are the foundation upon which successful sadhana is based. This translation thus can read: Kriya yoga prepares the yogic aspirant (sadhak) for success in all further sadhana, because the necessary elements for success are the cultivation of spiritual fire and passion (tapas), the desire to study and know self, and the desire to know, embrace, and be guided by (isvara pranidhana) the eternal divine -- teacher of all teachers (isvara or the inner teacher).

Unfortunately, these three foundational practices are widely misinterpreted in ideologically based systems as self sacrifice and austerities (tapas), study of scripture (swadhyaya), and surrender to God (isvara pranidhana) by those immersed in extrinsic dualism and religionism . Before going into a discussion on these three preliminary practices which constitute kriya yoga, and which may be applied both in daily life as well in other sadhana, it's always wise to investigate how these practices are applied in meditation (the main practice of raj yoga).

So in one sense, we may view these three as activities that prepare us for meditation. First one makes the effort to sit in meditation. Withdrawing one's energy from ordinary temporal pursuits, one redirects it internally to fire the meditation. This is the application of tapas (spiritually redirecting one's energy from the "normal" dualistic distractions of outer materialistic objects of attraction and activities, back into our inner Source core/center (on a physical and energetic level it is related to the fifth limb of ashtanga yoga, pratyhara, and the hatha yoga bandhas).

As one sits in open awareness, greater awareness of the mental contents of the mind is revealed. How the mind works and how it colors "reality" is revealed. The sadhak becomes aware of the ordinary mind's karmic propensities, habits, psychic signatures, and imprints, and eventually through consistent application of the energy brought forth from tapas fueling awareness its essential nature is revealed. One understands oneself because one understands the mind. This is authentic swadhyaya (self study). This self study is not the same as analytical intellectualization, but rather we simply observe that the ordinary mind wavers, fluctuates, and is unstable (cit-vrtti) and acknowledge it. While observing the pauses between these fluctuations (nirodha) space is created for the formless (isvara as the eternal formless attributeless eternal teacher/teaching then enters).

Eventually one becomes aware of the objectless, timeless, transpersonal ultimate -- that universal formless intelligence which underlies the entire universe and embraces it as formless Self -- that unites eternity with this very moment. That is isvara pranidhana. It is coming HOME to what has always been HERE and always will.

Isvara is unreachable through the analytical process, but must be experienced (usually through meditation or else through other subtle practices). Some may say that such an experience is grace, by realizing the innate original timeless and unlimited light, but as a practice that leads us out of darkness (ignorance), Patanjali would say that it is the result of punya (meritorious actions) and effective practice which are positive acts that create positive karma which create positive results and conditions; i.e., often resulting in prolonged or short experiences of open-heartedness, wonder, great beauty, luminous light, clarity, and wisdom).

Applying these three procedures many times (as needed) even in one meditation sitting can be productive in directing its successful outcome -- creating positive causes and conditions. Thus the three kriyas (activities) of tapas (which is often the renouncing of one activity to fire catalyze all the other practices), self study (swadhyaya), and isvara pranidhana can be applied as techniques as yoga sadhana in All Our Relations

The above example is applied to meditation practice, because it is the main practice of Raj Yoga, the main teaching of Patanjali; however all the limbs are meant to be synergistic and hence kriya yoga forms a basis both of intent and activity for the success in yoga in general, but only in the non-dualist, non-exclusive, transpersonal, and universal sense. For example the immense existence of widespread mis-interpretation of these three activities, exist mainly because they are interpreted through non-yogic eyes by those who believe in dualism and separation. Such a dualist bias protects the dualists and hence attempts to prevent the culmination of authentic yoga. Indeed in "another" non-yogic system, these terms mean different things, but here we will attempt to translate these terms in the context of an authentic yoga practice, specifically raj yoga.

Tapas: As we will see tapas means the generation of energy and its direction in order that we have the requisite energy to power our sadhana. Tapas is the spiritual fuel, fire, or passion for sublime union, which is associated strongly with the practice of vairagya (non-attachment/non-grasping). Through authentic tapas, we create space, time and energy through the practice which is essentially vairagya. One can create space between impulse and action through self-awareness. One no longer is committed to the impulsive action or vector as one pauses. In that momentary pause the dissipating/distracting habitual dynamics that previously commanded our attention and energy (being imprisonment within the "I-It" world of duality) can now be effectively identified and recycled by allowing the spiritual energy and fire to become kindled. This turns frees us from karmic propensities, frees up the heat, builds up spiritual momentum, and activates the spiritual circuitry. Our deeper spiritual potential becomes activated. By emancipating our addiction to external objects of gratification and dissolute habits, this previously bound up energy is also liberated and made available. Thus, tapas is closely associated with the fifth limb of ashtanga yoga, pratyhara, and with the hatha yoga bandhas.

Simply speaking, tapas is nothing more than a practice that liberates and recycles already bound/imprisoned energy and consciousness (cit-prana), which has become misdirected (conditioned). Through a special kind of renunciation based on swadhyaya (self study) the yogi gains self awareness of this misdirected vector toward self imposed imprisonment, and subsequently releases it (releases the dissipating negative actions). In this way tapas is not a repression of imposing external codes, moral, religious or ethical philosophical laws upon the human being, rather it is based on Now awareness (cit-prana) gleaned from authentic self study (swadhyaya). Such then feeds the fire of further dedication and devotion (isvara pranidhana) leading eventually to the one pointed (ekgrata) culmination of samadhi. Without authentic swadhyaya and isvara pranidhana tapas is also inauthentic (just a mechanical parroting to authority and rules -- following orders. The latter does not lead to liberation, but rather the opposite.

In this sense tapas has nothing to do with the negative or fear based practices of self abnegation, repression, self defacement, penance, sacrifice (as is more commonly misinterpreted), self harm, self punishment, or self mutilation. This unfortunate negative association is the result of a confusion (avidya) due to the kleshas of egotism (asmita), raga (attraction/attachment) and dvesa (aversion, negativity, or revulsion). It is absurd to hypothesize that through repression or by hurting ourselves or denying ourselves health or comfort, that spiritual progress will necessarilly follow, yet this is a stubbornly held and not uncommon delusion. Indeed much of what passes for tapas is really dvesa (aversion/negativity) and self delusion (pride), albeit one is trying. But spiritual progress is not so simpleminded as the mechanical action of sacrificing one thing in exchange for another, for instance like cutting off one's finger in barter for "spiritual" progress. This absurdity is taken to extremes by some unfortunate souls who believe that if cutting off one's finger is good then cutting off two will certainly bring more benefit. Such futile arguments can go ad absurdum into the more pain that one can withstand the stronger they become spiritually. Victory over craving, aversion, or pain indeed is a result of waking up, but it is doubtful that it can be reversed engineered through renunciation. Unfortunately such a confusion is not uncommon.

Yes there is involved an element of recognizing the nature of the conditioned vector, and its renunciation based on that recognition. But the renunciation is always an affirmation. It is not mere renunciation.

Tapas as meant by Patanjali is actually much more practical than turning away from the world as in disgust or aversion (dvesa), but rather it is an affirmation -- a tapping in to the evolutionary force. In one sense there exist two sides of tapas. One side is renouncing activities which do not lead toward our evolutionary spiritual evolution, while the other side is the firing up of that spiritual side, i.e., it is the affirmation side of tapas. As such it is like recycling or energy conservation. As such it is not simply left at a negative renunciation, but rather part of the greater process -- an integral part of an affirmation, acknowledgement of, and surrender to the higher Self (isvara pranidhana). It is very dangerous to think of tapas as merely self-control, discipline, negation, or repression. Rather tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana should be taken together as an integral whole -- as a mutually synergistic affirmation. Tapas is not discipline (sadhana) but one of many transformational disciplines to be implemented in conjunction with self-discovery, and self-realization.

The misconception surrounding tapas arose from the quagmire of those who have become habituated to dualistic thinking, where the desire to escape existence and feelings predominates. Thus it became perverted as an escapist and an isolationist strategy. Commonly, ordinary people (non-yogis) would observe the yogis who were living simple lives in bliss in the mountain caves or reclusive forests, and wrongfully conclude that they were denying themselves pleasure; rather than understanding the simple evidence. Their minds played tricks on them disclosing their preference and bias, confusing pain as pleasure or liberation. To their minds what was deemed as pleasure was in truth mere neurotic and unnecessary sublimation, while their faulty evaluation of so called "austere" yogis was actually evidence of being content and fulfilled in the sphere of primal joy. In other words those who observed such yogis mistook affirmation and fulfillment for negation and sacrifice. They assumed that the yogis had the same values and desires that they themselves read into the picture. In other words these interpreters who were attached to fancy food, clothes, money, and worldly activities "interpreted" what they saw within the mire of their own attachments and values, rather than in understanding that these yogis had no need nor desire for such attachments. What must be made clear is that pursuing temporary happiness is simply another form of suffering (duhkha), as it is based on dualistic craving (raga), which is based on the basic egoic rend. Waking up brings about wisdom, as it destroys ignorance/confusion. Secondarily, the destruction of ignorance produces true and lasting happiness, nirbija samadhi being the end of the search.

Consequently, in the modern day, yogis choosing a life of simplicity may be viewed as being self-hating or self-abnegating, while in fact these yogis may be experiencing and reflecting a deep and profound state of wellness and spiritual fulfillment. A modern analogy might expand on this further, such as rather than "viewing" the bliss of a true yogi living without the need of TV, air conditioning, fancy clothes, microwave ovens, rich pastries, automobiles, or other such superfluous if not unhealthy attractions/addictions as a sacrifice; we can rather more correctly view that within a positive context of affirmation i.e., that the yogi has attained something more primal, fulfilling, and satisfying and has no ersatz external attachments or desires in these regards, rather he/she is focused on attaining moksha (liberation). In other words, these yogis may look like they are sacrificing something if viewed from the eyes of a greedy, lustful, or fear based ego, but from the yogi's point of view it is the ego bound individual who has sacrificed the ALL, for something truly vacuous and empty.

Patanjali already discussed the power of the practice of vairagya, which is the passive aspect of surrender and tapas, all of which can become natural and spontaneous when the gravitational pull of karma has become cancelled. Later in Pada II, Patanjali again discusses the positive value of tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana as techniques (sadhana) in order to eliminate the kleshas. Authentic tapas is far more straightforward than self sacrifice or self defacement i.e., rather through authentic tapas we relieve ourselves of the neurotic obsessions of ego gratification thus freeing ourselves from needless stress and distraction.

The processes of tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana are thus intimately intertwined. For example we first may make an affirmation or establish a spiritual aspiration to become free of neurotic behavior by knowing our "self" better -- study our "self" more, see how and why it becomes imprisoned and caught up in suffering (duhkha). This is the momentum in alignment with swadhyaya (self study). Thus at first, we might at the same time reaffirm our higher potential (our so-called spiritual side) and wish to integrate eternal presence more into our life. This latter is isvara pranidhana, but is bolstered by self-study and tapas. Tapas naturally follows, because in the light of the former, we can analyze each action whether or not it will lead toward more self understanding, liberation, and spirit or not. In other words, we can analyze whether the habit of attachment, neurotic greed, new clothes, entertainment, distraction, fancy or rich foods might lead toward the desired spiritual goal or not. If not, then we decide not to go in that direction any more, thus breaking old mental and physical neurotic habits., which free up our time and energy tremendously. That is authentic tapas. It is not renunciation or repentance in the Western sense, because it is an affirmation. It is not discipline, because we are doing what we truly desire, abiding in the self-liberating flow.

Tapas in everyday practice can first liberate us from the obvious addictions that are possessing our vital energy and attention (cit-prana). They are given up on the spiritual altar -- as an affirmation of the Great Integrity. Then, more subtle hindrances are removed, and as such tapas is also closely aligned with the yams of aparigraha, asteya, and brahmacharya (See Sutra 37-39 below).

Sometimes tapas is misconstrued, as discipline, external dictates, or morals, in the sense of externally applied rules or duties such as found in authoritarian systems or religions. No, authentic tapas is not effected by simply obeying moral or legal precepts, but what distinguishes authentic yoga from religion is that the yogi is self disciplined, self aware, and dedicated to the truth. The yogi inquires as to the true nature of the mind or Self; rather than memorizing answers from one;s appointed external slave masters. Eventually the yogi realizes that one is only a slave to ignorance because of lack of self-awareness. The yogi's self discipline is his/her daily sadhana (practice), which is to be applied continuously (day and night) eventually as an affirmation, dedication, and love (isvara pranidhana), not as an aversion or escape (dvesa). So tapas means much more than discipline, rather it is a specific self-discipline that is applied to boost and fuel our spiritual progress -- to realize yoga in

All Our Relations.

A yogi cleans house with tapas by eliminating the non-essential clutter in action, speech, and thought. It frees psychic space and allows the yogi to reclaim energy that had been previously expended in less satisfying dualistic activities. The yogi is then able to focus more onepointedly upon the goal of yoga. The goal is not the perfection of the practice (in this case tapas), but rather samadhi, by eliminating obstructions that maintain stagnation.

Again tapas is to be applied not only in meditation, but integrated into our simple every day relationships. Tapas is simply letting go of attachment or self involvement in an activity which is seen as neurotic, distracting, entertaining, or diversionary such as neurotic entertainment, recreation, consuming ersatz objects of gratification, or the engagement in any action which is imbued with kleshas. In every day terms we have many choices, so we can ask how does this activity or that activity fit into my spiritual evolution. How does going to the movies, going shopping, acquiring more things, going out to eat and so forth compare with doing meditation, asana, pranayama, karma yoga, or study tonight in regard to our spiritual progress and happiness?

Tapas is not simply renunciation for renunciation's sake, nor will any success come from hatred, fear, or an aversion (dvesa). Nor is it a simple minded remedy for raga (attraction), nor should it be motivated by ego (asmita) or pride; but rather tapas involves giving up the obscurations and hindrances (kleshas), attachments, vasana, and old habits (any dualistic separate identification) upon the altar of love -- in the context to free up more energy for our spiritual activities --as a yoga kriya. As such it is always an affirmation.

On the other hand acting out our kleshas (out of ignorance, attachment, aversion, ego, greed, jealousy, ignorance, and the rest of the kleshas will dissipate/distract the energy; so the yogi who achieves a certain amount of self awareness through self study (swadhyaya) will make better use out of their time and energy applying it to fire the kiln of effective practice instead. This is how swadhyaya and tapas interface on the mundane level to increase the spiritual vibrations and sacred presence.

Tapas is a recycling of the energy that could have been placed into further distraction and dissipation -- placing that energy into the service of further fueling one's spiritual evolution -- tapas becomes the activity that freshens up and sparks a practice that has become sluggish and dull. As such then it is an affirmation of the higher Self. This is the action of authentic tapas. Very simply by letting go of one's attachment in such neurotic activities or propensities, then space and energy is liberated and reclaimed that can now be directed toward ultimate liberation.

For example, mouna. or the practice of silence, is a traditional way yogis build up "spiritual heat" to ward off spiritual stasis. Simply by refraining from verbal chatter that energy (chatter can be a severe drain on the throat chakra) is recycled as it were for "other" activities. This is effective for those of us who are subject to this kind of energy suck. Another common physical practice of tapas is fasting, but again not to reinforce the false identifications of pride, ego, or willfulness (as in look how long I fasted), but rather for spiritual energy -- living on the more subtle sources of prana -- becoming more attuned to the Source of true Sustenance. Many yogis say that the best and most effective tapas is entering into silence of the mind, or meditation (dhyana). For more along this line see Tapas and Addiction at www.HeartMind/Tapas.htm

Swadhyaya: Swadhyaya is most often mis-translated as scriptural study, but that is more often the cause of false identification than its remedy. Although scriptural study has become a institutionalized philosophical tradition in India for thousands of years, swadhyaya in the yogic sense means exactly as it says; self study. Of course the religious and academic types will deny/ignore this last statement, declaring that one can find oneself only in books (scripture). Yogis meditating do not accept being defined by authoritative books or external authorities; but rather they are dedicated toward finding that Source intimately within as the authentic living modality of true Gnosis. Patanjali meant swadhyaya as just that i.e., studying the self at each moment. As such it is an important technique in meditation practice (raj yoga). In meditation activity however we do not want to analyze the mind processes or self, nor "do" anything other than to simply observe in awareness. In this sense meditation then could be called the activity of no activity where the Self discloses itself. Here swadhyaya in its highest form is pure awareness -- where the small self disappears and the True Self is revealed. That is where authentic swadhyaya can lead.

Swadhyaya is misinterpreted widely by scholars and religionists as "scriptural study" or book study. Although studying "correct" philosophy and practicing contemplation on mental and psychological phenomena (jnana yoga) can provide some specific benefits of clarification or inspiration for some students (but only when placed in the context of the heart), such external study can be often very misleading and disorientating (unless balanced with inner study), as it merely leads toward the reinforcement of institutionalized mass illusion and as such is not characterized as an authentic yogic path. too often we find that those who study external authoritative systems become obsequious, robotic, quarrelsome with others sects, conformists, and jealous of others who do follow the injunctions of the guru or scripture. Too often the books substitute for the book of the Heart, but the map is not the territory, nor will the symbols delineated by words, serve well to replace our direct experience. Indeed we must learn from our direct experience what is Self -- no one can be spared this experience who wishes to know the authentic Self.

Thus in a yogic sense swadhyaya means studying, observing, and eventually knowing our true self nature, not through the conceptual confines and objective externalized eyes of the intellect, books, scripture, or authority, but rather through Gnosis acquired through meditation -- from an authentic direct transpersonal experience. This study or inquiry into Self is an essential practice of the process of self realization via the removal of delusion/illusion. It is a moment to moment university culminating in Self Knowledge or inner realization. See "Who am I" and "Self Enquiry" by Ramana Maharshi, "You Can Be A Light Unto Yourself" from the Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, vol. 13, "Krishnamurti and the Direct Perception of Truth", and similar.

Isvara pranidhana: Isvara is often mistranslated with the English term, "God", which in the Western sense of the term, is almost the opposite of what is meant because isvara specifically is not a theistic idea (as yoga is not theistic) nor is it a separate or independent entity (ego). In other words the word, isvara, specifically refers to the formless and deity-less seed source aspect of infinite awareness (omniscience or universal unbounded non-dual reality). Isvara specifically is formless and attributeless (alinga), hence "aspectless aspect" of the divine and as such even to name it is a contradiction. Thus isvara pranidhana is to surrender to the seed source of the great integrity of formless infinity which is eternal (beginning-less, unborn, and never ending) -- the all pervading creative spark or seed source found reflected in all of creation, thus that which connects up the Great Integrity, while anything short of that is being short changed.

The word, isvara, thus expresses or symbolizes the essence of completeness, the whole, or infinite mind and as such can not be represented successfully by symbols, being the vast open ended unbounded emptiness that includes all and everything and which is simultaneously included in it, "isvara" often defies words, description, definition, and conceptual labels. It remains formless and undifferentiated in order to not exclude even the minuteness differentiation of existence. What does this mean then as a practice (isvara pranidhana is a practice of astanga yoga which leads to samadhi). It means that Divine intelligence and Divine will is always available both inside each human being and within all of creation IF we look for it. We can always surrender the egoic "s"elf to THAT. THAT larger momentum, force (or grace if you like) can and does lead us into the Great Transpersonal Presence -- into the natural and true "S"elf that knows no bounds and as such isvara pranidhana is a daily moment to moment practice. In meditation we allow THAT ineffable immeasurable Light and Love to shine forth -- we create time and space for this communion. THAT experience is hat is called completion practice, while the acts of making offerings, sacrifice (yajna), and surrender are the preliminary stages.

Always we surrender to THAT which is taintless, imperishable, and pure -- which has no definition -- does not exist, yet is reflected in all of existence; that which is beyond all names; yet may be called isvara only if we realize that although it pervades all, it can not be contained or bound by form. If we do not devote our energy and attention to that which is COMPLETE and WHOLE and never changes, we will not accomplish yoga. If we are not focused in this direction which neither expands inside out nor outside in exclusively, then we remain incomplete, corrupted, fragmented, diverted, rended, neurotic, and vulnerable to repeated fragmentation and separation in the corrupted and confused mire of dualistic reality (samsara). Isvara is always available in Now awareness. always HERE, but we have to look for it, acknowledge it, respect it, and honor it. When we let go of our willful practices; when certain karma is extinguished; then we make room for isvara to guide us for we are listening -- That is guidance (grace so to speak) from the primal teacher of all teachers, isvara yet isvara resides *inside* all sentient beings, hence isvara is the universal transpersonal intimate teacher (not a separate god or operator. (see Pada 1.26).

Any confusion by what Patanjali meant by isvara pranidhana, is generated by the conceptual and linear mindset. For example, it has been created because various religious and analytical "schools" devoid of direct experience and inner wisdom project their own "definitions" upon the term, isvara. For example the pre-existing older samkhya school did not recognize any god at all. Then samkhya itself changed. Later schools such as some branches of the philosophical Vedantic's attribute an impersonal absolute (state devoid of any attributes) only to nirvisesha (without attributes) nirguna (without qualities), and nirakar (formless), which is distinguished from isvara. Some bhakti yoga schools attribute isvara pranidhana to mean simple worship or devotion; while the karma yogis may interpret it to mean selfless service (as is found in karma yoga). There are numerous other interpretations displaying the specific bias of the various schools predilections or cosmology which influence their approach and practices. Indeed in Hinduism alone there are thousands of names for god, and ten times that number of books which attempt at different definitions for each. The point that concerns the yogi after liberation, is that the "name" doesn't matter, i.e., that in order to rest in the universal ultimate one must surrender all attachments to these separate forms, be they religious or philosophical -- in Reality -- WE ARE THAT -- Tat Tvam Asi. That is assuming that we are sincerely on a genuine spiritual search versus simply finding solace in ersatz external systems. (See also Pada 1.23-27)

Rather than harp any further on this subject, we will assume that Patanjali meant the practice of isvara pranidhana in the context to facilitate the culmination of Raj Yoga (the realization of the highest samadhi). This practice is not only a kriya (essential or prerequisite activity) for spiritual transformation, but also a niyama of astanga yoga, and as such it is perhaps more valuable to point out that isvara pranidhana is not a practice that can be accomplished through the intellect or conceptual manipulation, nor is it difficult to access and practice like some scholars might indicate. Rather it is a simple yet profound practice of first consulting with our our highest innate seed potential (inner wisdom) in All Our Relations while allowing it to extend and manifest (prajna), which brings about in its completion the direct experience and manifestation of the non-dual transpersonal expression of yoga, simultaneously where the inner and the outer, crown and root, left and right, tha and ha, ida and pingala, nature and spirit, converge HERE in the instantaneousness of the sacred moment.

"The importance that all these Indian metaphysics, and even the ascetic technique and contemplative method that constitute Yoga, according to "knowledge" is easily explained if we take into consideration the causes of human suffering. The wretchedness of human life is not owing to a divine punishment or to an original sin, but to ignorance. Not any and every kind of ignorance, but only ignorance of the true nature of Spirit, the ignorance that makes us confuse Spirit with our psychomental experience, that makes us attribute qualities and predicates to the eternal and autonomous principle that is Spirit -- in short, a metaphysical ignorance. Hence it is natural that it should be a metaphysical knowledge that supervenes to end this ignorance. This metaphysical knowledge leads the disciple to the threshold of illumination -- that is, to the true 'Self'. And it is this knowledge of ones Self -- not in the profane sense of the term, but in its ascetic and spiritual sense -- that is the end pursued by the majority of Indian speculative systems, though each of them indicates a different way of reaching it.

For Samkhya and Yoga the problem is clearly defined. Since suffering has its origin in ignorance of Spirit -- that is, in confusing Spirit; with psychomental states -- emancipation can be obtained only if the confusion is abolished. The differences between Samkhya and Yoga on this point are insignificant. Only their methods differ: Samkhya seeks to obtain liberation solely by gnosis, whereas for Yoga an ascesis and a technique of meditation are indispensable. In both darshanas human suffering is rooted in illusion, for man believes that his psychomental life -- activity of the senses, feelings, thoughts, and volition -- is identical with Spirit, with the Self. He thus confuses two wholly autonomous and opposed realities, between which there is no real connection but only an illusory relation, for psychomental experience does not belong to Spirit, it belongs to nature (prakriti); states of consciousness are the refined products of the same substance that is at the base of the physical world and the world of life. Between psychic states and inanimate objects or living beings, there are only differences of degree. But between psychic states and Spirit there is a difference of an ontological order; they belong to two different modes of being. Liberation occurs when one has understood this truth, and when the Spirit regains its original freedom. Thus, according to Samkhya, he who would gain emancipation must begin by thoroughly knowing the essence and the forms of nature (prakriti) and the laws that govern its evolution. For its part, Yoga also accepts this analysis of Substance, but finds value only in the practice of contemplation, which is alone capable of revealing the autonomy and omnipotence of Spirit experimentally." Mircea Eliade, Immortality and Freedom

Thus vairagya, tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana are the individual parts of an integrated and potent process of spiritual transformation and liberation. Success in yoga proceeds from here. Thus it is valuable not to forget nor misinterpret these kriyas as they are very useful when properly understood and applied. In this sense we let go of ego involvement or attachment which is self enslaving, but not in a rigid, static, or willful framework of self denial or repression nor as a religious or moral duty, but as a passionate and joyful release/relief -- as divine longing and intention -- as Divine Love -- as a portal into THAT wholistic and joyful interaction which provides us completion in the heart, true happiness, and fulfillment. Thus we embrace and reside in our core energy -- in the heart relinquishing our unhappiness. How to stay thus centered is brought about through self observation (how our energy shifts or our attention and consciousness becomes obscured and modified by the vrttis. In this way self study (swadhyaya), leads to self knowledge -- or knowledge of the Self or Source. When we observe ourselves to be occupied with activities that do not lead in this direction, we perform tapas and this feeds the fire of our practice. When we feel lost or corrupted, we search out the omnipresent sacred and all intelligent presence in all and surrender to THAT. For more on Isvara see Pada I: Sutra 23-27 and Pada II Sutra 45.

Kriya yoga (as self-inquiry, control of one's cit-prana, and selfless non-doing) is a fine art. Tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana all are mutually synergistic i.e., the more we understand who we are, simplify our activities and involvement, and dedicate our attention and energy toward staying connected and in harmony with the Great Integrity, the more natural, accelerated, and fulfilling our yoga practice becomes. More could be explicated, but this commentary is already overly expanded.

Kriya yoga as a premier activity clears a path, creates a pathway, and removes the causes of obstruction and as such is the primary means that purifies the citta-vrtti opening up into samadhi. In a similar way we can use the word, prerequisite or fundamental, for kriya. As such, see Patanjali's further elaboration of tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana as niyama (the proactive branch of astanga yoga called beneficial activities to undertake) starting at Pada II, sutra 43-46) following.


II. 2. Samadhi-bhavanarthah klesa-tanu-karanarthas ca

[Tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana] attenuate the causes (tanu-karana) of the kleshas, thus bringing forth (bhavanarthah) samadhi.

bhavana: to bring forth: to fructify, to cultivate. Cultivated intent. Focused concentration on an object so that one affects it or that the intent is absorbed into it. The result of such absorption or focused intent.

tanu: attenuation, reduction, releasing.

artha: purpose

karana: cause, the causal reason, origin of.

klesha/klesa: hindrances. obstacles, obstructions, afflictive emotions, or obscurations of pure consciousness that block samadhi. Stains or blind spots upon pure awareness. They are also deemed afflictive or afflictions that poison or taint the mind, thus increasing the gravitational pull toward ignorance (avidya) and the samsaric wheel of life (duhkha). Kleshas are painful states even though they may appear not to be painful (duhkha) in the state of normal and partial awareness. Likewise, since kleshas are associated with pain, painful experiences and trauma also reinforce kleshas. Until avidya is defeated by vidya, this kleshic association remains entangled.

Samadhi: at-onement/wonderment: Union; State of total non-dual integration: total absorption of the self (atma) with the Self (Brahman) in a non-objectified transpersonal state; total dissolution of "selfness"; the total and complete union of Sat-Cit-Ananda.

Commentary: Succinctly, samadhi is produced through practices which attenuate and eliminate the *causes* of the kleshas. The practice of kriya yoga purifies the biopsychic organism serving to reduce the causes (tanu-karana) of these embedded obscurations, hindrances, afflictions, occlusions, obstructions, negative mental habits, and/or impure residues of karma (kleshas). Once these impediments are eliminated, one allows for natural flow (at-onement or samadhi) to occur seamlessly. Hence, kriya yoga is a fundamentally deep proactive practice remediating directly the causes of the kleshas verses dealing with the symptoms. Instead of prescribing remedies for the kleshas, Sri Patanjali suggests the joyful practice of focusing directly upon the joyous source (isvara pranidhana) through moving into full alignment with the evolutionary force (tapas) as intense self study (swadhyaya) at every juncture.

As we cultivate and get a deep heart-felt sense (bhavana) of samadhi through effective hands-on practices, our sense of purpose (artah) becomes refined, and the causes of hindrances (kleshas) lessen (tanu). Thus, samadhi becomes more accessible and continuous (bhavana) -- it shines forth more often from deep within the core of our being sometimes called the deepest Universal Self/Soul without a second. This is the most effective way to reduce the kleshas by eliminating their causes. When the kleshas (hindrances) are lessened then our practice is less hindered and more successful - it shines forth spontaneously from Source.

Kriya yoga lessens the causes of the obstructions and hindrances so that our practice blossoms. A wise practitioner who has found that his/her practice has become stagnant, can go to tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana to remove the hindrance, blockages, and obscurations by building up the spiritual fire (tapas), the passion to know Self (swadhyaya), and the surrender to that highest transpersonal wisdom that comes from divine and infallible guidance (isvara pranidhana). So if our intent (artah) is to cultivate samadhi (samadhi-bhavanarthah) we should learn how to attenuate the causes of the kleshas in All Our Relations. Kriya yoga thus is a deep practice, but not many are able to practice it successfully without the aid of auxiliary or supplemental practices.

Practice: When the kleshas are attenuated, then the citta-vrtti cease. The mind and energy has become less distracted and dissuaded. Hence through swadhyaya, tapas, and isvara pranidhana, the dissipation of the cit-prana (mind-energy) becomes attenuated and more available to heat up and burn off the residues and impurities of the obscurations (kleshas). The essential energy is then activated, drawn up inside and put into harmonious service to isvara, as isvara pranidhana. This activates the dormant evolutionary force in man. So activated, kriya yoga, activates the kundalini (evolutionary energy) making completing man's human destiny as the pure channel between primordial timeless sourceless source and embodiment -- between siva and shakti, crown and muladhara chakras, heaven and earth in Satchitananda.

See II.43-46 and II.2 for more details about tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana. Now, Patanjali lists the root kleshas to be eliminated.

II. 3. Avidyasmita-raga-dvesabhinivesah klesah

The five primary mental, emotional, and biopsychic hindrances (kleshas) are avidya (unawareness of our true nature). As a result of this ignorance [which veils the bright light of truth], the other kleshas arise such as asmita (the limited false identification of egoism), raga (fixation and craving), dvesa (repulsion, dislike, hatred, anger, fear, antipathy, or aversion), and the fear of dissolution (abhinivesah).

klesha: spiritual hindrance, affliction, obstacle, obscuration, impediment, affliction, affliction, blockage, or obstruction to waking up. That which feeds the citta-vrtti and karma and which is fed by them forming a constituent on the circle of samsaric existence. Kleshas are specific manifestations of dukha (mental pain), and they entangle one in duhkha, both. Kleshas define duhkha (the samsaric state of mind); while the light of wisdom liberates (vidya), which is the causeless cause of lasting unconditional joy free from arising and cessation.

avidya: absence of vision; non-vision; ignorance; unawareness, insensitivity, dullness, limited or obscured awareness, confusion; denial of spiritual light; hence lack of light. Vidya unclothes avidya.

asmita: ego, pride, sense of separate or independent self; false identification with or a belief in a limited small self. Due to the non-recognition or self denial of the Universal Self.

raga: craving neurotically for happiness, an attraction toward an object, ordinary desire, consumer consumption, fixation, fascination with material objects, an obsession, attachment to results, expectation, goal orientation, hope, dualistic love or liking, a movement toward self-gratification.. A belief that the possession of an object/objective in the future will provide fulfillment or pleasure. Raga is the desire by the ego for happiness in objects (mental or physical).

dvesa: Negativity, antipathy, aversion, fear, dislike, hatred, repulsion, revulsion, indifference, avoidance, a bland or neutralizing indifference, numbness. escapism. How is indifference or numbness dvesa, one may ask? It is dvesa as it is aversion as such is an act of avoidance, an escape from something. When we are present -- in Now Awareness powerful positive emotions are evoked such as love, sympathetic joy, happiness, compassion, inspiration, exaltation, boundless enthusiasm, santosha, cheerfulness, etc. These latter are positive emotive forces that result naturally from a fearless open mind and heart, while dvesa is a contraction/recoiling from presence --Now awareness. We want (raga) happiness and don't want/dislike (dvesa) unhappiness. However we often confuse that which creates suffering as appearing pleasurable We substitute neurotic compensatory happiness for true and lasting happiness, because of avidya (mental confusion). Dvesa and raga are two sides of the same kleshic coin.

abhinivesa: fear of death or discontinuity, the ego's fear of dissolution or disintegration.

Commentary: The kleshas are mental/emotional obscurations/afflictions that obscure our pure vision (vidya). They are also referred to as poisons, because they poison our mind. As mental phenomena in the average human consciousness, they arise mostly unknowingly and unrecognized, as knee jerk reactions triggered by a combination of past causes and conditions (karma). Sometimes they are partially recognized in moments of mindfulness, whereby they can be released into the light of knowledge (vidya).

An authentic yoga practice reveals and dissolves the karmic attraction to the wheel of samsara (suffering). The gravitation to the wheel of suffering (samsara) thus declines. Duhkha (suffering) is attenuated as ignorance (avidya) is extinguished by the action of the light of wisdom (vidya), which is empty of subject/object duality. Thus avidya (unawareness) is the primary cause of the kleshas. One can see that the very definition of klesha as being the obstruction of pure awareness (vidya), is self defining.

The second klesha is asmita, which is nothing other than I/it dualistic delusion, where one's consciousness and realm of experience becomes imprisoned in an egoic limited/partial identification. After the limitation of asmita klesha has become established, then raga (attraction) and dvesa (repulsion) come into play for those suffering from egoic disturbances. For most, attachment to the ego and fear of death (of the ego or of the body as identified by the ego) become the major kleshas to be eliminated.

When the kleshas are active, that is, when the consciousness is obstructed (citta-vrtti), we become under their spell; hence, a hindrance to full awareness/waking up (spiritual liberation) is maintained. Being triggered by past karmic residues and samskaras, which have not yet been recognized and deconstructed, their activation/operation leads to further negative karma, and hence, reinforces the citta-vrtti (the limited samsaric mindset). See (IV.30). This habitual clinging of the mind to samsaric gravity when it mistakenly misinterprets the true nature of (empty) phenomena, leads to variations of grasping/attachment (raga), mental stagnation/fixation, fear, hatred, envy, competition, greed and many more afflictive permutations.

They are concomitant. They are often referred to as afflictive, but the conclusion, "afflictive" may not be a helpful elaboration in explaining their mechanism, such as affliction is affliction -suffering is suffering, and so forth unless we are able to switch contexts and compare with a non-afflictive, unobscured, unconditional, and boundless state of mind where even the afflictions (kleshas) are not known as mental objects existing by themselves, but are known as inter-dependent (as conditions of prior causes and conditions). Samsara is a afflicted mental state and even mental/emotional pain/suffering is of course a mental state. That does not mean that pain or samsara as mental states are not experienced or do not exist (rather it is prevalent in materialistic human society based on ignorance and the rest of the kleshas); however, the afflictions do not exist independently of the obscurations of the mind; i.e., there is a cause to the obscurations ignorance and grasping. The samsaric syndrome is a result of the fundamental egoic delusion that the ego truly exists. As we have seen in Pada I, kleshas arise from the citta-vrtti or produce further citta-vrtti (especially I.5-I.11) -- they obscure the true primordial nature of mind (swarupa). One may say that it is the citta-vrtti that is the illusory field. So, the first step is to recognize the kleshas as they arise, be it confusion, pride, craving, fear, hatred, etc.. The second step is to shine light/awareness on the klesha, devoid of aversion. This awareness in itself will dissolve the illusory state and tendency eventually. When universal primordial essence is recognized in All Our Relations then mental obscurations will have faded away, as the dualistic mind has been washed clean of stains allowing for the original pristine awareness to bathe us in its immeasurable light.

The kleshas are ordinarily classified by the above five general categories of which functional and effective yoga practice is designed to completely purify and clear, but there are many combinations/permutations. Kleshas show up as obscurations, negative emotional hindrances, or afflictions, which if acted upon further obscure true happiness (duhkha). Such makes up the cyclic nature of samsara until the habitual tendencies are broken. Indeed the kleshas are an aspect of suffering, just as a drop of water may be part of the ocean when we are swimming, whether we recognize it to be so or not. The kleshas start with egoic ignorance (avidya) whose first samsaric error of ideation is "I am a separate self apart from the whole" (asmita). Another way of stating this, is that ignorance (avidya) of our true primordial nature of mind is the basic confusion or erroneous mindset which separates ourselves from the full non-dual experience of who we truly are (swarupa) in terms of the whole, free from the limited fascinating delineations of time and place.

Thus to reiterate, ignorance (avidya) or lack of vision (as the chief klesha), as the rend/split into the fundamental fragmented dualistic view (citta-vrtti). Avidya (as the absence of unlimited unconditioned awareness), thus causes this split as a sense of "separate self" (egoic sense) apart from from the intelligent evolutionary power by chronically ignoring the transpersonal and non-dual true nature of Self. Hence, at its root is Self ignorance, a false identity, or loss of true vision, wherein the egoic self habitually ignores the truth of our essential true nature; i.e., swarupa. From that split, craving/attraction (raga) and compensatory carnal lust is created. Likewise repulsion (dvesa), greed, envy, competition, lack of true self-worth and fulfillment, etc.

This lack of awareness (avidya) can be said to create a habitual and familiar flat-plane linear milieu of separation, a reference point of an observer (ego) and the observed (phenomena), a partiality, fragmentation, rend, split, and traumatic/painful separation, which is the primary cause of all other secondary obstructions that appear as the myriad afflictive modalities, which Patanjali calls kleshas. That primary split from awareness of our true non-dual awareness is the primary cause of craving, aversion, attachment, and pain. True and lasting happiness is found when we consciously rejoin with our true nature, while the pursuit of temporary happiness as an end, is a subtle form of suffering. Asmita thus us the compensatory result of avidya (ignorance)-- a poor substitute for the Big Self, and then raga (craving) or dvesa (antipathy) are the secondary results of that causal split. Thus this split or fragmentation of consciousness gives rise to asmita (sense of separate self), raga (as attraction -- the neurotic desire for a compensatory union/gratification), dvesa (aversion, repulsion, or dislike, and abhinivesah (a craving for continuity while lost in temporal impermanence) and an over objectification that imputes upon nature, evolution, and other living beings separateness/alienation which is an alienation from All Our Relations.

Afflictions such as raga (craving), occur more frequently and intensely in the young, while dvesa is more common and intense in the old; but this is only a generalization. Both occur until the rend from the all-inclusive impartial unbounded Self (our true nature) is healed via samadhi, wherein, our spiritual passion is fulfilled in sublime unification (yoga). Raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa, are mere tricks of the mind stemming from asmita klesha (the delusion of a separate self), Asmita stems from avidya, which is the ignorance of the Great All Encompassing Self which discloses our true non-dual nature (swarupa-sunyam in samadhi (III.3). Hence raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa are secondary neurotic results of the dualistic mental fabrication of I/it dualism imposed upon the mental field (citta-vrtti). Desire (attraction) for or an antipathy (repulsion) toward such temporary objects of ideation is at best only an ideation. As we will see dualistic objects are hallucinations while their true appearance is revealed when the yogi realizes the true nature of one's own mind in clear vision (vidya). In reality those objects which are clung to or run away from are not independent, solid or substantial. Avidya (ignorance) is merely seeing through a dirty lens.

Although there exist numerable combinations of these kleshas, their source is ignorance (avidya). Mindfulness reveals their presence and allows for their release in the light of vidya. In general, we can observe "self" and "others" operating from and driven by their kleshic fields daily. Although Patanjali breaks them down into five toxic dynamics, they will be shown to combine in thousands of combinations until they are recognized and released. The kleshas can be viewed as the various frictions of separateness or ignorance (as compensatory neurotic displacements) which causes the experiences of discomfort, desire, craving, dissatisfaction, restlessness, angst, and the myriad other hindrances (kleshas) of spiritual self alienation which fuel the wheel of karmic prison, and further suffering. Of these innumerable kleshas, Patanjali simply classifies them into these general groups all emanating from this state of spiritual alienation which is in reality, the absence of vision (avidya) -- the process of ignoring the profound reality of who we really are in wholeness and integrity -- in All Our Relations.

Thus the five broad categories of kleshas stem from avidya (lack of awareness, partiality, bias, and confusion). It is the base of all the other kleshas. Then follows asmita (ego delusion, the belief in the separate or small self, prideful conceit, arrogance, denial, sense of ownership, and so forth), raga (attraction, desire, attachment, etc.), dvesa (repulsion, aversion, hatred, fear), and, abhinivesah (the fear of death which counters the eternal spiritual identity and presence).

It naturally follows that when we are fragmented from our deepest heart connections, then love and pure vision cease to flow freely. Cut off from that natural flow, we desire a compensatory or neurotic ersatz replacement. This is called raga or desire which is a poor substitute for true non-dual union, interconnectedness, and interdependence. Thus in the yoga context, neurotic desire, temporal love, and lust cease naturally when we come back to the True Self -- the All and Everything of the Great Integrity from which we have become estranged.

It should be noted that fear in this context is really negative desire; i.e., desiring something not to happen is fear. Fear is also an aversion (dvesa) to something while raga is following the attraction. Attraction and repulsion occur naturally, but any activity or dominance of them become afflictions and cause suffering. Repulsion or aversion is also manifested as hatred, anger, disgust, and condemnation. Most people do not acknowledge such in themselves due to their conceit and self deceit, but they manifest in many ways in the ordinary man on a daily basis. Also ignorance causes asmita (pride, ego delusion, conceit, and belief in separateness). More will be said about these mechanisms later, but asmita, like the other kleshas, is merely a compensatory neurotic coping mechanism to substitute an identification to replace the rend from true Self.

Note the Buddhists similarly trace the source of the kleshas to clinging onto false views and ego ignorance. They group them similarly into aversion (anger, hatred, and fear), desire (raga), pride (or arrogance and delusion), greed, and envy. The yogi understands that all the manifold varieties of kleshas such as jealousy, anger, hatred, possessiveness, arrogance, condemnation, self righteousness, aggressiveness, etc are simply permutations of two or more of these basic kleshas -- all stemming from ignorance of our intrinsic true nature. For example jealousy is based on a combination of desire (raga), dvesa (aversion), and asmita (pride).

Abhinivesah is often translated as clinging onto physical existence, but I have chosen to translate it in its negative as the fear of death. But really it is the clinging onto a false sense of continuity or security onto something which is ever changing. Abhinivesa is really is rooted in the fear of change. In other words, we do not fear the discontinuity of eternal love or consciousness when we reside in the firm experience of its continuity. It is only when we are disconnected within the realm of false and confused identifications, does the fear of discontinuity and death arise. Both say the same thing. Abhinivesah is one of the greatest sources of desire, fear, and separation and hence unhappiness (duhkha). It entirely goes away when we identify more continuously with the eternal imperishable Self (that which never dies which is always present.) in All Our Relations.

Abhinivesah is one of the most profoundly misunderstood kleshas, especially in this modern materialistic age where consensus reality has sunk deeply into the coarse, external, physical, materialistic, and temporal "reality' at the detriment to the subtle, the inner, the energetic, spiritual, and eternal. Indeed these two worlds are not meant to be split into two, but our conditioning does this all too successfully. Yoga on the other hand is designed to embrace that re-connection i.e., of eternal spirit as divine presence at each and every juncture of physical manifestation as its basis.

The young infant is born fresh from the eternal, while the elderly prepares to re-enter the "reality" of eternal flux, but for those who live it, they have never left it and it never leaves. In dualistic religions, Spirit is said to exist in the beginning and the end (alpha and omega), but precisely that statement betrays abhinivesa, i.e., the clinging onto a life bias. Rather, REALITY, as-it-is says that life and death both belong to a greater wholistic continuum -- the beginningless never-ending. In other words, in Reality there is an "I" which is bornless and deathless that exists right HERE and now -- in the Eternal Now -- the Continuity and Great Integrity which is authentic yoga.

If we were able to shed the conditioning that frames and limits "reality" as we ordinarily know it in terms of temporal life, but rather in terms of timeless now awareness-- the never ending continuum, then our life would become far richer and productive. It would be inter-dimensional and holographic. When we embrace this great continuum -- when we lose our materialistic bias and prejudice, then we also give up all fear of death -- fear itself vanishes. HERE the Universal non-dual transpersonal transpersonal Sacred Presence of All Our Relations -- as Reality as-it-is -- becomes revealed.

Even though, in non-dual realization (in reality), phenomena does not exist by itself, hence kleshas do not exist as separate things, independent from the observer and process of observation, we can never-the-less state that there exist 840,000  combinations and permutations of the kleshas besides the aforementioned such as jealousy, greed, anger, arrogance, willfulness, self centeredness, vindictiveness, haughtiness, superiority, pomposity, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, disdain, scorn, and so on, as if it were helpful to list them as objects/phenomena. Many of the kleshas are compounded such as in the tendency to ridicule and belittle others as being stupid, thus deluding the ego that the ego is smarter/better is a combination of pride (asmita) and dvesa (aversion), but really this need (raga) comes from ignorance (avidya). Kleshas are caused and in turn cause chitta-vrtti. Acting upon kleshas are the cause of negative karma (results) or suffering (duhkha). Likewise the cause of the kleshas is the mind that is predisposed to avidya (non-recognition). In short, the limited awareness associated with kleshas is what binds us to the samsaric wheel of suffering (duhkha); while vidya (awareness) is what we designate as the mind's liberator.

“By defilement, we mean our perception is defiled or stained or blinded by emotion. Because of emotions, phenomena that are in a continuous process of falling apart are wrongly perceived as truly-existing phenomena.

Let me illustrate: a great flock of birds in the distant sky appears to be a black spot, which is a distortion, because that spot is actually fragmented into as many parts as there are birds in the flock; it is not one indivisible stain. And, from the Buddhist point of view, everything is like that: everything is composite, and in constant motion, and dependent on conditions.

Likewise, our flock of deceptive thought patterns, which are composite and ever-changing and conditional, we deludedly perceive to be solid and partless and real: and it is this deluded pattern of perception with no basis in reality that is the definitive definition of defilement.”

~ Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, "Parting from the Four Attachments" (Given in Nepal, 2009).


Sit or stand quietly and take a few deep and conscious healing breaths utilizing the diaphragm. Take one more breath and another, and continue in that simple way. Without losing breath awareness, scan the present contents of your mind for residual memories of the limitations of avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, or abhinivesa. Is the mind wandering and if so go back to the breath while observing the mind. Is their an emotional tone or countenance afflicting your consciousness? Can you recognize any tension, pain, strain, stress, and release it? Release it and go back to mindfulness. Mindfulness is not just of the body and the sense objects but also includes inside your biopsychic organism . Release any stress anywhere in thought or action. It is not necessary to make a list of the operational kleshas, but do not be afraid of them or try to avoid or repress them although such tendencies may arise. Simply be aware fearlessly, attentively, meeting fully what may arise and do not grasp at it. Actively look for any and they will disappear because darkness can not live in light. One day if you are very lucky none will return, they will be destroyed by the light of day. Then you can rest in bringing awareness to the universal mind itself -- awareness of pure unlimited all encompassing awareness.

In short, when we abide in our natural state of Mind free from conditioning as in swarupa-sunyam (samadhi) through yogic practices like kriya yoga, then we will naturally be unaffected and undistracted by the kleshic activity.


II. 4. Avidya ksetram uttaresam prasupta-tanu-vicchina-udaranam

[Kleshas] arise from (uttaresam) the field (ksetram) of avidya (a chronic conditioned process of habitual ignoring -- non-recognition), be they dormant (prasupta), attenuated or subtle (tanu), temporally restrained or repressed (vicchinna), or fully active and dominant (udaranam).

avidya: The habituated state of lack or absence of spiritual vision (vidya); Obstructed or impure vision; A chronic state of spiritual ignorance, confusion, dullness, blockage, or non-recognition of unobstructed pure vision; the habituated act of denial of true vision or light. The state`of being dimly lit. Avidya is a lack of recognition (ma-rigpa, Tibetan) of our true unconditioned (natural) condition.

ksetram: field

klesha: spiritual obscuration, hindrance, obstruction, or affliction. That which feeds the citta-vrtti and karma and which is fed by them forming a constituent on the circle of samsaric existence. Kleshas are both afflictive and afflicted habits of the mind which are triggered by past karmic traces, conditioning/programming, or samskaras.

Commentary: Avidya-ksetram is the field of ignorance, which imprisons and limits self awareness. It is the field of ego awareness (citta-vrtti) which is organized around darkness, versus light. Being a mindfield based on ego ideation it is also the same as the Buddhist samsara. Vidya means vision or to see clearly as in clear view or clear vision. Avidya is the lack of vision -- the obscuring blinder in our field of vision, a veil that filters and distorts "reality". It is the impure obstruction that prevents us from seeing what is-as-it-is or Thusness. The larger problem of spiritual stasis arises (or rather our vision becomes chronically obscured) when we become conditioned (habituated) to a limited way of seeing/visioning the world through self limiting and narrow lenses which attempt to interpret our existence and identity through this distorted view, colored lens, shaded veil, or sliver lodged in the spiritual eye. Avidya as ignorance or confusion, can also be translated as non-recognition, unawareness, and/or a confused state of the mind. Worse in subsequent kleshas such as asmita, we identify with such a distortion, mistaking it for "reality" and misidentifying "self" as the viewer of or with "it".

Avidya is the root cause of all unhappiness (duhkha). Because of avidya (unawareness), we search for happiness elsewhere, and become mired in the wheel of of samsara. Avidya, being the primary root klesha is both due to the egoic split from Universal NOW limitless awareness and the glue that also holds the split in place. It is the foundation of duality, the sense of separate self (asmita) and with it raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa. Through conditioning we become familiar and somewhat try to become comfortable in this prison. the conditioned self (small self), but the yogi finally realizes that such a neurotic existence is not functional, no matter how much we try to satisfy our cravings and/or protect ourselves against perceived threats. Temporary ersatz pleasures are merely another form of suffering which hold us back from focusing upon samadhi which liberates the yogi from suffering -- which produces true and lasting happiness beyond normal neurotic compensatory pleasure.

Thus, through negative conditioning (through the mental habits of samskara and vasana) our familiarity and comfort with this dualistic "reality" becomes confused as being "security" and "reality" itself. Then we are in trouble (duhkha), because we start to habitually demand, prefer, or mistake our obscured and limited familiar "state of reality" in favor of REALITY AS IT IS -- unobstructed clarity, true vision, or the "real thing". We start to "prefer" to see the impermanent as permanent and the unreal as real, replacing wonder with flat plane linear "reality". Then consciousness becomes occluded and patterned (citta-vrtti). Then past patterning (vrtti), conditioning, and negative programming (karmic propensities) are dominant.

Swami Satchidananda used to give this example of dormant (prasupta) ignorance. Ignorance is a potential just as wisdom. The seed for the kleshas exist in the new born as a potential toward acquiring ignorance just as the seed for love and wisdom is innate. What grows depends on what is watered and nourished. A newborn child looks at the world with wonder and simplicity devoid of conditioned patterns of thinking (citta-vrtti). This is the prasupta or potential stage of ignorance, which most likely will mature into an active stage (udaranam) unless the child is brought up very wisely -- in harmonious alignment with natural law. Although the little child has access to the subjective experience (sat) of deep reality, he/she lacks stability in conscious awareness (cit). So too is there discontinuity and distortion of the mind field at the the other stages of kleshic manifestations be they subtle (tanu), inhibited (vicchinna), or active (udaranam). It is actually in the very active stage stage (udaranam) which lends itself to easy identification/awareness while they are very difficult to notice while subtle or inhibited. That is why some teachers give practices that provoke the kleshas so that they will be seen in the light of day. This may seem strange but it is true that subtle and repressed emotions only linger in the unconscious and as is said in the Chandi, light (Durga) destroys the darkness), while darkness seeks darkness. Authentic yoga thus beats the bushes for these inner demons and then flushes the out through consciousness. The they become destroyed, not by further ignorance, non-recognition, or denial. They are identified through self observation practices and conscious awareness such as swadhyaya, dhyana, and the rest of the yogic practices. When NOW awareness reigns in its continuity in All Our Relations then the kleshas have become successfully disenfranchised.

As we shall see authentic yoga practice is thus geared to both attenuating kleshas which gives us increasingly wider breather spaces in order to eventually destroy them all. Since avidya is the major klesha in which all others (uttaresam) reside within its field (ksetram), that field is eventually shattered so that light penetrates it fully. Thus the goal of yoga is reached through vidya (through the removal of ignorance and the kleshas), which brings us back to this natural unobscured visionary ability of All Our Relations.

Thus, yoga practice concentrates on destroying ignorance because avidya is the cause of all the afflictions and obstructions. Our unlimited and ever present innate true self nature (swarupa) awaits us always in the eternal now when all the spins, bias, and vrttis cease -- when the illusory veil of false identification and ignorance is lifted. this buddha potential, our higher self, or the kundalini lies dormant in waiting while we are lost in this dualistic veil of suffering (samsara), but when we emerge even for an instant we then see that this very is our true essential nature, and as such this gives us impetus to become entirely free (in nirbij samadhi).

Since there are almost an infinite amount of combinations of kleshas, it is sometimes said that there are 84,000 kleshas. Although the root kleshas are avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa, some of their combinations are: anger, hatred, jealousy, revenge, pride, prejudice, bigotry, arrogance, contempt, disgust, disdain, abhorrence, condemnation, bitterness, resentment, acrimony, dismissiveness, haughtiness, self righteousness, fear, envy, paranoia, confusion, terror, inhibition, cold heartedness, insecurity, contentiousness, squabbling, attachment, competitiveness, mania, habitual discomfort, angst, anxiety, self centeredness, and so on.

Some of these are often extended in behavior manifestations which cause collective suffering and bad karma such as: extensions of ego into group egos, religionism, chauvinism, nationalism, crusades. jihads, wars, clanism, ethnocentrism, bigotry, prejudice, tribalism, racism, sexism, regionalism, languagism, kinsmanism, geocentricism, egocentrism, exploitive propensities, theft, violence, group predation, scarcity psychology, self adversity, xenophobia, etc. To a yogi being free mukti (liberation) depends upon the elimination of the kleshas. In turn the kleshas such as ignorance, hatred, fear, ego false identification, religious, ethnic and nationalistic pride; self righteousness, bigotry, and prejudice is the manipulative fuel for militaristic/totalitarian and authoritarian societies.

In short, where the kleshas are prominent, then it is certain that ignorance, deception, delusion, impure vision, attachment, fear, hatred, arrogance, greed, etc are dominating the human population. Strife and suffering is the outcome. Sometimes these kleshas are obvious and gross. At other times they are politely and subtly expressed or hidden, and at other times they are temporarily inhibited, repressed, or dormant waiting to be activated, triggered, or explode,


Sit or stand quietly and take a few deep and conscious healing breaths utilizing the diaphragm. Take one more. Now scan the present contents of your mind or in the past day for residual memories of the specific limitations of avidya (ignorance). You will not find those which are dormant or very subtle, but you might have a memory of repressing some or an activation of some coarse manifestations where we have imposed a contracted and limited field of consciousness upon our great potential boundless expanse which is always at our finer tips.

Try hatha yoga asana practices with deep diaphragmatic breathing while observing the arising of any physical or mental resistance or tension. Bring your awareness to focus upon the arising of any tension spots and then breathe further into this area with pure open consciousness combined with the energy behind the breath, while reflecting upon any mental/emotional components that may be brought to the surface tension of awareness. While moving into and out of the postures, breathe even more deeply into the living temple as an intimate part of the evolutionary energy that has arisen from the source of all (in somato-emotional relationship with naked awareness) and then release any tension/stress or blockages by visualizing the breath and prana rippling through the region. Repeat if desired and/or go onto another pose in the same manner utilizing the body, breath, focus, and release technique. This is self activated pranahuti which not only releases the blocked energy but also the kleshas and residual karma when practiced over time.

Even more simply focus on isvara pranidhana and the evolutionary power in All Our Relations while opening up to the transconceptual teacher inherent in the moment. Become accustomed to the beauty and expansive living intimate power in that sphere. Then one will naturally become accustomed to moving and being moved in harmony with the all inclusive innate light and beauty because the natural clarity of one's true nature has been allowed to shine through.


II. 5. Anitya-asuci-duhkha-anatmasu nitya-suci-sukha-atma-khyatir avidya

Avidya (the habituated mental absence of spiritual vision) is an embedded, programmed, confused, and conditioned state of afflicted consciousness, where the egoic mind habitually confuses that which is painful (duhkha) as pleasurable (sukha); that which is transitory (anitya) as being permanent (nitya); that which is impure (asuci) as being pure (suci); and that which is limited and vacuous as the true and real Self (atman). That limited awareness (avidya) squashes true, lasting, and unlimited happiness, conflating that with what brings more pain and unhappiness (duhkha). Thus, the original non-dual clarity (vidya) of the true nature of awareness as the all encompassing Mind (anatma) is ignored.

anitya: temporal; impermanent; transitory

suci: pure

asuci: impure

duhkha: Unhappiness, suffering, dis-ease, a sense of un-wellness, displeasure, annoyance, discontent, discomfiture, grief, suffering, pain; mental/emotional discomfort, struggle, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, a perceived difficult or stressful situation, a sense of tension. Duhkha as a state of mind is the samsaric mind. Since samsara is in the mind, one may fairly equate duhkha as samsara. Samsara (duhkha) both defines the kleshas; while simultaneously the kleshas maintain samsara (the state of duhkha). The chief klesha is egoic constructed ignorance, or simply put unawareness of the true nature of mind.

sukha: pleasure; joy; here, a temporary happiness. A state of mind associated with temporary satisfaction of neurotic/sublimated craving (raga).

atman: a separate self viewed as apart from the whole. The fragmented, deluded, or corrupted self.

anatma (anatta): the non-self, selfless self, true self, the universal and unbounded self, the altruistic and all compassionate loving self, not self; the impure or untrue "self";

nitya: eternal

khyatir: the act of clear seeing; apprehension, illumination, clarity.

vidya: clarity of mind; clear or unobstructed vision, awareness, recognition of what-is-as-it-is. Non-dual vision. Pure perception..

avidya: lack/limitation of spiritual vision, ignorance: dullness, fragmented and broken awareness, blocked awareness, insensitivity, limited awareness; confusion; the resultant sphere or habituated activity of ignoring or avoiding; non-recognition; denial or avoidance. Avidya (unawareness, dull, blocked, or limited awareness) is the primary cause of unhappiness (duhkha) because it is the chief klesha.

Commentary: Another way of saying this is that avidya (impure vision) is the state of occluded, limited, and distorted vision (the basic confused dualistic mental state), which confuses the impure, temporal, and false sell, which brings forth pain, with the pure, eternal, and true Self which brings forth joy. It is a perceived state of mind, which is mired in clouded, obstructed, or limited vision. Hence, the citta-vrtti (mindfield) is by definition an obscured afflictive state, while yoga opens up the mind to the unobstructed view (vidya).

Ignorance or denial, as avidya, is a state of mind that confuses the false-self (anatma) as the true self (atman), as a fundamental false identification; the impure (a-suci) with the pure (suci); that which is ever changing (anitya) as being static and eternal (nitya). This is the dualistic split as avidya (as ignorance) as a false identification (asmita). It is NOT the same "no-self" in Buddhism or what Patanjali calls swarupa-sunyam, which are based on the emptiness of any separate self. Rather duhkha comes into play as a confusion, where "self" is equated with something else, some other things, or basically defined in terms of an "it", from which it is separate. Thus subject/object dualism becomes fixated through ignorance. The true Self, or rather Reality, does not reside in fragmented biased views; rather Reality-as-it-is is entirely dependent upon universal all encompassing eyes/wisdom, where there is absolutely no possibility of bias.

Yoga makes the connection between eternal spirit and nature (shakti) as Maheshvara's sacred integral embodiment, where the timeless formless spirit is continuously present (as divine presence) in the sacred Now, inseparable as it always has and will be. This is Reality, where there is yoga (continuity between primordial consciousness and its intelligent evolutionary expression in nature. It is readily recognized by the wise, but it is ignorance, which occludes the eyes of the perceiver and engages the human being in the fabrication of erroneous conceptual processes leading one astray. Through the inherent liberating light of vidya (pure vision), then confusion, false identification, associating with the impure, and temporal including all neurotic craving, aversion, and suffering (duhkha) ceases. This is very similar to the first two noble truths of Buddhism. The last noble truth being cessation (nirodha) in kaivalyam (see pada IV). That unobstructed vista is the great expanse of the unconditioned/natural mind, thus, producing unconditional happiness.

The focus of this sutra is to make clear that the conditioned mind ordinarily takes for objects of happiness, craves, loves, enjoys, or desires is itself a symptom of duhkha. It is merely a poor compensation for the real thing, and hence a severe distraction.

Buddha and Patanjali both call this recognition of the limited state of ignorance (avidya) as the first step of awakening -- recognizing unhappiness as-it-is, giving it a name, duhkha. This non-recognition (of non-dual integrity and wholeness) causes mental suffering. There, the human being enters into the samsaric wheel of of suffering (in Hinayana (old style) Buddhism that is called the wheel of Life and Death, the 12 links (nidanas) of causation, or the law of dependent arising (pratityasamutpada). All the other kleshas follow as suffering subsets from there. Only later in the Mahayana and tantra does the view of pratityasamutpada (the view of the samsaric world) become more refined and subtle in stating the emptiness of "other" (phenomena and the world). Hence, the gap between samsara and nirvana is bridged. So too, does Sri Patanjali teach this same truth as Buddha, at the birth of Mahayana, albeit many scholars have missed this simple but profound teaching, because of being mired in the confines of ideology. The main point here is that unawareness not only creates unhappiness, but is the embodiment of unhappiness. This is true for all the kleshas as we will soon see. Asmita is form of suffering, although those with eyes tightly closed do not recognize it. Raga, dvesa. and all the other kleshas are also variations of a limited awareness. Suffering is inherent in the samsaric mindset; yet because those so occluded do not recognize suffering as suffering, rather often they mistake it as pleasure, the cycle of suffering becomes unwittingly perpetuated.

The pre-existing, common, dichotomous, and confused dualistic situation which Patanjali comments upon here is that the common man confuses suffering as joyful because he confuses craving and desire with the anticipation of pleasure -- having confused the anticipation of self gratification with it's satiation. He has not awoken to the process in which he creates his own pain. It is likened to a man who eats slow acting poisons during the day and enjoys it then only to suffer extreme pain at night. The next day this same man eats and enjoys the poison again, thinking how good it is, and then again at night he again experiences pain, suffering, discomfort, craving, or a further feeling of incompleteness (duhkha).

Another example is that when we are young we may consider it great fun and pleasure to party all night, drink lots of beer, get into fights, chase one's genitals all over town, get into fights and get beat up, over eat, overdress, over consume,etc. One day one may see that all that was not only temporary "pleasure", but neurotic activity where the clinging to the habituated activity reinforced one's suffering, even though at the time, such activity appeared as if pleasurable. One day a fortunate person wakes up and asks themselves what it is it that that they truly crave/need`-- what is it that will provide lasting happiness and fulfillment? Eventually one gives up the futile attempt and distraction to possess that which is on fire, temporary, and neurotic as distractions, while realizing what one truly desires in vajra passion/compassion (see below). This is how the aspiring yogi begins to wake up and enters upon the yogic path.

Another is the example of "the itch". The bigger the itch the greater the ecstasy becomes when it is scratched and satiated. It gives us relief, but we are better off without the itch in the first place. Here we can get to remediating the causes of the kleshas, not just their symptoms. The common man who has lost his way only knows the temporary pleasures that occur from satisfying neurotic desires, confusing the presence of desire with the process of pleasure and thus happiness. But where is the lasting happiness that spiritual passion is directed toward? It is not directed at temporary things as such would be foolish. The pursuit of temporary happiness is nothing other than a form of suffering as it contributes to the diversion and dissuasion from lasting and true happiness. This temporary happiness, being based in confusion/ignorance is called idiot happiness, as it does not contain wisdom. Happiness which is the result of vidya (vision), liberation, and awakening is lasting and true happiness. Temporary pursuits of pleasure is compensatory for the prior separation/fragmentation from the Whole Self which is our true nature (swarupa-sunyam -- being empty of a separate self). It is thus clearly a result of ignorance/ignoring. When our attention and energy is aligned with the inseparable unity of the absolute and relative, then there is no longer any further fragmentation, distraction, or further neurotic desire.

There are many examples like this, but another more esoteric example is the man who becomes addicted to massage. He loves the massage so well and it is so pleasurable, but that type of pleasure is conditional, resting upon the pre-existing condition where he habitually creates tension and pain in his body/mind acting unconsciously and ignorantly. the pleasure that he is experiencing is really the result of his ignorance i.e., previous actions based on ignorance. This type of "pleasure" is thus contrived and dependent upon suffering and can become addictive, while on the other hand yoga is designed to eliminate the cause of suffering (avidya) and that is why it is said that it brings True and Lasting Happiness.

True and lasting happiness is found through remediating all neurotic ersatz attachment to duality. Coming back into wholeness -- into Samadhi -- into the Eternal Now -- Sacred Presence and All Our Relations, then there is nothing lacking -- nothing is ignored. That is where our attention should be focused.

IV Sutra 28 hanam esham kleshavad uktam

These samskaras create kleshas and thus can be eradicated [by the previously mentioned remediations of the kleshas, samskaras, vasanas, and avidya].

Commentary: See Sutra 30-32

IV Sutra 29 prasankhyane 'py akusidasya sarvatha viveka-khyater dharma-meghah samadhih

Free from selfish motivation while abiding steadily (sarvatha) in self awareness (viveka-khyater) the rain-cloud of natural law (dharma-megha) is absorbed (samadhih).

Commentary: Pure awareness or vigilance (in viveka) applied steadily will activate viveka-khyatir (luminous self revealing intricate lucidity), the remedial propensity where old samskaras, old mind habits (vasanas), and vrtti become nipped in the bud as soon as they arise.

IV Sutra 30 tatah klesha-karma-nivrittih

In this way the waves of karma and klesha are destroyed.

IV Sutra 31 tada sarvavarana-malapetasya jnanasyanantyaj-jneyam-alpam

Then all veils (sarvavarana) and impurities (mala) are removed (apetasya) so that the knowledge of infinite mind (jnanasyanantyaj-jneyam) is revealed which leaves little more (alpam) to be disclosed.


Similarly in a Buddhist perspective kleshas are caused by ignorance. Acting on the kleshas cause bad karma. The context is limited awareness or space; while the content is unhappiness.

"The six poisons are:

hatred, or anger, which creates the experience of the hell realm;

greed, or miserliness, which creates the hungry ghost realm;

ignorance of how to act virtuously is the cause of rebirth in the animal realm;

attachment (virtuous action performed with attachment to the meritorious results) is the cause of human rebirth;

jealousy (virtuous action sullied by jealousy) causes rebirth in the demigod realm; and

pride, or egotism (virtuous action performed with pride) causes a godly rebirth.

The defilements lead to unskillful actions, which generate karma, the infallible operation of cause and effect in the mental continuum of each individual. The negative karma caused by the defilements is the origin of the sufferings of the six realms. The only way to eliminate suffering is to practice the path, method or remedy that will remove the defilements and the negative karma that they produce. By developing loving-kindness and compassion it is possible to diminish the defilements, but in order to uproot them completely, it is necessary also to develop the discriminating awareness (Skt. prajna; Tib. she-rab) that arises from the wisdom of emptiness. The development of loving-kindness together with wisdom is the result of following the path of Dharma, otherwise known as the five paths: path of accumulation, path of unification, path of seeing, path of meditation, and path of no learning.

The first, the path of accumulation, has three subdivisions. The first stage consists of taking the first step in the right direction, that is, taking refuge and practicing tranquility meditation (Skt. shamatha, Tib. shinay). The aspect of wisdom that is involved is that of listening to teachings (called the wisdom of hearing), and of reflecting on them with the analytical mind (called the wisdom of contemplation). The contemplation appropriate to this stage is known as the four applications of mindfulness, which is an examination of the true nature of (1) the body, (2) the feelings, (3) the mind, and (4) all phenomena. By logical analysis it is possible to come to the intellectual understanding that all of these are merely names for interdependent occurrences that lack any true self-existence, this prepares the way for an acceptance of the idea of emptiness (Skt. sunyata; Tib. tong-pa-nyi).

The second stage of the path of accumulation involves the abandonment of negative actions and the cultivation of virtuous actions, by which merit is accumulated.The third stage consists of the development of four qualities, without which further progress on the path will not be possible: (1) aspiration (strong determination to practice Dharma), (2) diligence (enthusiastic effort), (3) recollection (not forgetting the practice), and (4) meditative concentration (one-pointedness of mind without distractions).

What was developed on the first path becomes stronger on the second, the path of unification, which is a linking of the ordinary level to the exalted. On this path the practitioner experiences greater tranquility, more joy in virtuous action and fewer negative thoughts; confidence, energy, reflection, concentration, and wisdom increase, and tolerance of obstacles is developed. Finally the highest possible mundane realization is reached, a momentary experience that occurs during meditation, in which the nature of emptiness is perceived directly.

After having this perception, the practitioner is called a noble or exalted one (Skt. arya; Tib. pag-pa), one who has immediate insight into the four noble truths. This experience is like that of blind person whose blindness is cured and who sees colors for the first time; therefore, it is called the path of seeing. "

Based on a seminar given by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche



Follows is a rather elaborate discussion of duhkha. The most straightforward and direct definition is that duhkha is defined as avidya, raga, dvesa, abhinivesa, and their combinations such as greed, envy, competition, etc. Only in grief, sadness, tears, and the expression of loss is suffering recognized for what it is. That is recognition, abandonment, and renunciation.

In order to understand and identify how kleshas occur as forms that the block out the light of clear vision (vidya), it is useful to understand how the term, duhkha, a term most commonly defined as suffering, pain, or unhappiness is used. Similar to a physical disease, duhkha is indeed a symptom of a preexisting injury. One way of translating duhkha is unhappiness, discomfort, suffering, dis-ease, or pain, while sukha (joyful happiness), mangala (happiness), fulfillment (santosha), and a feeling of wholeness/completeness is its opposite. However, as we will see in the discussion on the klesha called raga (craving pleasure), it is too easy to confuse neurotic and temporary pleasure/satisfaction as true happiness. Temporary happiness is another form of pain (duhkha). Such a confusion (temporal love as ordinary neurotic desire) is labeled as idiot happiness. As a matter of fact, such neurotic activity will distract our energy and dissuade us from the realization of ultimate happiness/fulfillment. Being attached to seeking happiness in neurotic union, or escaping pain as an aversion to what appears as suffering, are both prisons which bind us to continued samsaric addictions. All the kleshas are specific aspects of painful conditions that are the results of avidya. Such feeds the wheel of karma and chains consciousness to ignorance. In short, the wheel of suffering is annulled by eliminating avidya (ignorance/fragmented thought), which is nothing other than waking up with clear vision -- the removal of all obstructions and impediments (kleshas) and the cessation of the citta-vrtti, which discloses the natural unconditional nature of our limitless/boundless mind. This is done through yogic practice (sadhana), such as dhyana, etc.

In fact, both sukha (as temporary pleasure) and duhkha (as unhappiness) have arisen out of the same basic mental error, which assumes that the source of happiness or discomfort is external, rather than being a mental state due to neurotic conditional dualistic assumptions. Those kleshas are dependent upon ordinary dualistic egoic consciousness (asmita) as explained adroitly in Sutra 1.17. Vairagya (non-attachment) to phenomena, body, energy, or thought constructs through the perceptions of bodily sense objects energetic senses, and mental objects of thought is the fundamental remedy for duhkha. Then, the mind and basic feelings abide in our natural unconditioned state. When we drop temporal desires/love for things, we have spiritual or unconditional love and unconditional freedom left over. That brings with it unconditional joy (true and lasting happiness). It's absence is spiritual unhappiness (duhkha) being symptomatic.

So here, we can distinguish between two kinds of kleshas (raga and dvesa). Raga occurs when the mind associates union with temporary or neurotic pleasure (sukha); while dvesa arises when the mind associates union with duhkha (unhappiness). Thus the goal is not happiness per se, but the great boundless expanse of unobstructed awareness (vidya). That unconditioned state destroys duhkha and has within it it unconditional happiness (bliss) as a symptom. When the mind becomes happy because of a non-dual interconnectedness/union, then a spiritual happiness (mahasukha) spontaneously arises. When the mind remains happy having renounced foolish activity, that is not dvesa nor duhkha, but naturally informed non-attachment, which obviates duhkha. Basically, when the evolutionary intelligent power is blocked/obscured by the kleshas, there is duhkha (unhappiness), which is a feeling of lack, absence, fragmentation, and incompleteness. All neurotic compensatory "fixes" such as raga (temporal or carnal desires) or dvesa (temporal antipathy) exists within a samsaric (fragmented) state of mind, which is created out of ignorance -- ignorance of the all creating primordial consciousness, which is nothing more than a temporary state of unawareness or amnesia. That "normal" conditioned dualistic state of limited unawareness being limited and constricted, creates the prison of citta-vrtti, where the kleshic mindset operates-- where one's mind is overtaken by the kleshas. There the continuity of primordial awareness is broken, while existence appears as lacking, inhibited, and constraining. Both boy and mind are wholistically affected negatively. Removing pain/unhappiness occurs by welcoming in the innate evolutionary energy, by opening up the knots and blockages, by strengthening the channels (nadis), and avenues of communication. This is not accomplished through repression, inhibition, dissociation, desensitization, blocking out the evolutionary energy and consciousness, rather opposite. It is achieved by the release of such restrictions. .

In the end (samadhi) all questions are answered -- all conflicts are resolved. Answered is the question, "what would the end of suffering (duhkha as the signal symptom of the the cycle of samsara) look like" as lasting unconditional original primordial awareness with unconditional happiness as the symptom. Unconditional liberation encompasses complete liberation from samsaric existence. Another approach is to perform that inquiry (dharana) or contemplation upon the meaning of the word, duhkha. we would ask, "How does the wheel of suffering (samsara) become reversed"? Again, broadly speaking, the answer is the same, eliminate avidya (non-recognition), rather than try to ignore it. The yogi meets duhkha with open unafraid eyes, and faces it with consciousness. Open up to the innate intelligent evolutionary power. Wake up and connect to primordial awareness Now, in Now awareness. A yogi abides in lasting true happiness and fulfillment, and is thus free from unhappiness (duhkha). At the same time. duhkha affects others as an emotional affliction, which the yogi recognizes while responding wisely and compassionately.

Since we are embodied as human beings, who in turn are part and parcel of this overall sacred process, we must honor that innate evolutionary power here and now, on the planet, in the body, and mental frameworks. That starts with the investigation of our own body, its relationship to the environment, the universe, phenomena, and evolutionary/creative momentum, which is traced back to timeless primordial being. Bluntly stated, if we do not know body, breath, and evolutionary momentum, then we do not know its Source. Likewise to know the body and the evolutionary momentum/force, we also must know the original Primordial essence implicate in all of so-called phenomena. That is where authentic hatha and kundalini yoga comes to bear.

So again on the physical level, *pain* is an indicator/symptom pointing toward something amiss or wrong -- it is an indicator of a blockage of cit-prana, a message of himsa (harm) occurring, as a prompt that something DEEPER than the painful symptom that is occurring. As a generalized warning sign or wake up call, instead of labeling an event "painful" or unpleasant to the ego, we can face that "pain avoidance mechanism" and bring consciousness, and hence healing, into the actual event. On a mental and energetic level the pain must be *recognized* as blocked energy, a circuit overload, a short circuit, a twisted nadi, an obscuration, obstruction of consciousness and energy (cit-shakti). When the channel of communication to what-is-as-it-is devoid of fear, pain, resistance, aversion (fight, flight, or fright) then healing energy is allowed to occur naturally and unopposed. Pain by itself does not exist, other than as a limited obstruction of primordial consciousness, a fragmentation, or ignorance,

On the other hand, more commonly, since man is averse to pain, he too often chooses to numb it out, ignore it, become insular, aloof, block the sensory impulse, cut some nerves, create lesions, separation, dissociation, use palliatives or drugs, armor around it, avoid or escape from it, or in general not recognize it and attempt to ignore it through being insensitive to their feeling/being "SELF", but that's not liberation or waking up. Numbing out and dissociating may temporally take away the "pain" (mental or physical), but it also throws the child out with the bath water, dissociating "self" from our deepest feelings and heart core ways of knowing and being. Dissociation and insensitivity is a common and tough habit to break, unblock, and cut through, but such a release is necessary. Although one may have to confront their inner demon that creates pain, when one knows that the absence of pain is not joy, but just appears as pleasurable because the pain has subsided, then perhaps the practitioner will be more enthused to slay their inner demons. The greater the mental pain, the greater the need to dissociate and escape, such in classic traumatic stress syndromes where any association with a painful mental event will trigger defensive neurotic reactions aimed at the protection of the ego's insular identification. They cannot accept reality, because it appears too painful to the egoic delusion to accept. The ego says, "tell me that I am right and good, but spare the bad news" (bad to the ego, but good for awakening). This sad state continues until ego death, which is liberation. Just like in physical pain, if that pain becomes too strong, the person goes into shock, dissociating from the body; similarly in situations of extreme mental pain/discomfort a dissociation occurs where one separates from their situation and retreats into "too horrible to believe", incomprehensible pain, inconceivable, too painful to accept or remember (where the realm of the citta-vrtta dominate). This attempt to escape pain has many negative consequences, such as dissociation, especially when the ego feels trapped with no where else to run. Further dissociation, self deceit (delusion), multiple personalities, schizophrenia, psychotic breaks, or catatonia are extreme examples. This is how pain feeds delusion (asmita-klesha) and how asmita feeds suffering. There are many tragic paths based on the unwise desire for distraction, escape, diversion, withdrawal, and mental/physical inhibition/numbing from acknowledging or experiencing what the egoic mind has interpreted as a painful experience.

Instead of reflexively ignoring or numbing-out the "pain", rather it is always better to recognize the signal as it is, by meeting our fear and aversion straight on, without imputing "painful nor pleasurable", dislike or like, bad or good, foe or friend; but rather take what-is-as-it-is as a signal/symbol, signpost, or indicator. Then, we bring consciousness (cit-prana) through from source to the source of the signal (the message), while abiding free from antipathy or the need to sublimate and bathe it with primordial source consciousness. We open up the channels and face the demon of pain and fear straight on. Then, fear and pain dissolve in light. Being with what-is-as-it-is, openly and nakedly, we can respond more effectively, wisely, spontaneously, and directly. Simply put, we have the innate ability to recognize the signal as-it-is without being pulled toward it or away from it compulsively, rather we can bring conscious awareness to it. Is it really "pain" or the mind interpreting an event as painful? Pain by itself does not exist by itself, rather it is merely a messenger -- a message that has been misinterpreted or mischaracterized by confused mental programming. Such humans armor themselves around their pain and fear in a futile attempt to protect and insulate the ego. All they accomplish that way is further isolation dissociation, inhibition, and ignorance. This is the poison that feeds and supports ideology and belief systems based on incomplete knowledge (pramana), viparyaya (false beliefs based on false knowledge), and vikalpa (delusional thought patterns), all of which are citta-vrtta and all of which further enslaves the mindfield. Pain. like pleasure, is not "out there" in "the world", rather it is a mental imputation, which carries with it severe mental consequences when not understood.

Duhkha is a symptom or mental affect of abiding in the samsaric state of mind. So we inquire as to what is samsara and how are its bonds broken? It is the state where pure vision (vidya) is obscured by the kleshas; samsara's engines being fueled by the five kleshas and karma. Hence, it is an afflicted and obscured state of mind where pure consciousness (cit) and pure vision (vidya) has become obscured. But to understand what samsara really is, we have to have perspective; e.g., we need to experience what it is not (nirvana, pure cit, or awakened vision) and then through this free larger perspective, then the processes of liberation and bondage is illumined. That is experienced through directed application afforded through practice (sadhana) like dhyana (meditation), dharana, kriya yoga, and/or the other limbs of astanga yoga which open up the channels, strengthen the nadis, and activate the dormant circuits which have been long repressed/suppressed through negative conditioning of fear, punishment, abuse, hatred, and ignorance. See "Fear of Pleasure", "Fear of Living", "AVOIDANCE", "What Appears as Pleasure may be Empty and Neurotic", "DENIAL". "Repression", and "THE SUFFERING OF CHANGE".

Deficits of Samsara

Samsara is not a place or a situation but a painful state of mind, dominated by confusion and ignorance. This ignorance is subtle; it is not so much lack information as lack of clarity. We do not know who we are or what we are doing. We wander in samsara and return again; cyclic existence is samsara. Our true nature is absolutely pure and luminous. We lose sight of this purity when conflicting concepts from our senses and the ego cloud our mind. Our awareness is dulled by the repeating cycle of pleasure followed by pain, expectation followed by dismay, and desire followed by loss. The illusions and conflicts of samsara do not really exist. They are myths, constructed by the mind.

We will soon fall under the power of impermanence and death. If after that we just disappeared like a fire burning out or water evaporating, everything would be over. But after death we do not varnish into nothing. We are forced to take a new birth - which means that we will still be in samsara, and nowhere else. The term samsara, the wheel or round of existence, is used in Words of My Perfect Teacher to mean going round from one place to another in a circle, like a potter's wheel, or the wheel of a water mill. When a fly is trapped in a closed jar, no matter where it flies it can't get out. Likewise, whether we are born in the higher or lower realms, we are never outside samsara. It is said that samsara is a circle because we turn round and round, taking rebirth in one after another of the six realms as a result of our own action which, whether positive or negative, are tainted by clinging.

The mind creates samsara because it is the mind which interprets what the body experiences in an incomplete and deceptive way. Our eyes are engineered to picture something visually. We respond to the object with our sense of sight but when we close our eyes, we can only see what we mentally recall, not the original vision. We are never able to reproduce exactly what our senses received because the mind records the information in our imagination, under the influence of former association and memories. These subjective mental patterns shape our whole perception of reality.

Each of us has a characteristic blueprint for the external world and the impressions which do not fit into this model are simply ignored or overlooked. When we are introduced to new ideas, we try to adopt them or cut mental expectation, they will be discarded. I encountered this in a very vivid way when I was in Bhutan. I was told about something called airplane and that can eat food inside and never spilled it inside. I have never heard of one before. Before 1976, there was no such thing in Bhutan. We have no airplane and train there. People told me the airplane was made of light metal and could fly very high with a loud noise. You could ride in it with more than hundred people, sleep in it and eat food. I tried to imagine this. I pictured a paper bird flying over and over on the empty space but I couldn't imagine drinking a cup of tea, eating food without spilling it because the image my mind produced gave me only a very partial understanding of the airplane. With his practice, we can confront the delusion of cyclic existence and free ourselves from them. Being human means we are likely to be happy but it is possible to look for a way out: to renounce the suffering of samsara, to transcend it.

by Khenpo Rigzin Wangchuck

It is the mental/emotional gravity or binding to the wheel of samsara, that causes duhkha. The cause of the suffering could be labeled as the phenomena classified as kleshas. When we realize that the chief klesha (stain of consciousness) is confusion (avidya), then we understand that the light of non-dual wisdom frees the yogi from the gravitation field of the samsaric wheel, from karma, and suffering. What is that wisdom? Patanjali answers that in III.3 (samadhi sunyam).

Denial is a Special Subclass of Ignorance

The denial syndrome is very widespread, even epidemic, in the modern over objectified society, where the egoic mindset (delusion) is very strong. Denial is where the egoic mind (asmita) denies, ignores, and avoids reality or true vision (vidya) chronically. As a chronic psychological disease, one habitually fears the truth because it is too painful to their egoic delusion (self-image); hence, new information and vistas become shocking, unbelievable, or inconceivable. Such people do not desire that painful truth. Since they do not want to face it, they numb or block it out in favor of a more pleasant "truth", which is simply a delusion. On the broad spiritual spectrum, one chronically denies one's True Nature of Mind (swarupa-sunyam as in III.3) which prevents samadhi (communion), by chronically hiding from the truth in mechanisms of self deception/self-deceit. The ignorant might declare that they prefer their own self-created delusion of self-conceit and gratification to what they misunderstand as the game of samadhi. To them all is delusion (make believe fantasies of the mind) in any case, hence they live in a self-contrived fabricated nihilistic ethical vacuum. They will also confuse the freedom to think anything that pleases them, as being equal to kaivalyam (unconditional liberation/freedom). That is how deep strong associations (anusayi) with sukha (self gratification) can become once one becomes lost in the field (kshetra) of avidya, asmita, and raga.

The egoic mindset attempts to avoid mental pain and associate with mental pleasure. Pain and pleasure being something that is imputed by the mind. Pain does not exist as an independent object or entity. It does not exist outside the egoic mindset. In the ego's fear or avoidance of pain, they ignore situations, events, people, or circumstances that bring pain or unpleasant feelings to the egos (one's imagined self-image or mask). This delusional ersatz self (the ego) confuses the events from which they are escaping, from the influence of the mindset that imputes it. However, all the ego has to do is go away. That is, the mechanism of egoic imputation/projection has to cease -- that which appears as a threat to the ego delusion, as a threat to one's self-image, self-conceit, self deceit, or pretension will all disappear and no longer trouble one as a natural result. For that to happen one must devote oneself to the truth wholeheartedly. That uncontrived truth "as-it-is" already truly exists as never-ending presence, here and now. What is illusory is the conditioned egoic projection. Thus, the psychological denial mechanism is at first designed by the ego as an escape temporary mechanism in order to avoid mental pain, but in practice, that ersatz mask winds up prolonging it as chronic ignorance, compensatory pride, aversion, fear, neurotic desire, envy, conflict, stress, and tension.

For a yogi, the problem is not "out there" in a temporal world of seemingly frozen solid external events and phenomena. Rather the yogi is no longer distracted by such passions rests within the inner unborn source of primordial awareness, while consulting it consistently, hence bringing forth joy, release, and liberation. The yogi knows how one's genetic neurophysiology relates/reacts to stimuli (either through acceptance or denial). Acceptance in this sense is not fatalism, rather one can not change situations effectively without first recognizing its presence and then releasing it to effect skillful action. By ignoring a situation and its causes, that same ignorance will insure that the situation is never remedied. Therefore, the yogi does not simplistically pretend that the situation itself is unreal nor does one become a victim of wishful thinking (which are just other self gratifying delusions). The yogi doesn't numb out, protect, or insulate oneself from reality in any manner, but rather faces reality and any "so called" associated pain (anusayi duhkha) directly, fearlessly, and fully. Upon close examination, the discomfiture or uneasiness will be seen as non-existent in itself, just as egoic pleasure or aversion, while that open mindset will transform how we see the event as well, without the need to ignore/deny it, nor to impute another story upon it. Denial reinforces ignorance. Denial is all about egoic mental pain, where one "reality" or story becomes more pleasurable or gratifying to the ego, than the truth. In that defensive milieu evolutionary or spiritual change is held back in favor of egoic fixation and stasis -- a narrative where the egoic mind feels safe, secure, and supported by familiar trappings. Without wisdom (the cessation of ignorance) true happiness cannot be brought into the world. Happiness in the form of wisdom and compassion can not be expressed well in words, rather it is affective/subjective. That is the natural marriage of the great compassion with wisdom as upaya (skillful means). Compassion is non-dual wisdom. Non-dual wisdom is compassion. They are, in reality, inseparable. Where the egoic mindset is dissolved, an independent "other" cannot be posited.

"When one realizes oneself, one realizes the essential nature of the universe. The existence of duality is only an illusion and when the illusion is undone, the primordial unity of one's own nature and the nature of the universe is realized, or made real." ~ Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

When denial occurs consciously, it takes the form of everyday defensiveness, as an escape from mental pain, where the egoic mind defends its position/place and pride in the face of an imagined assault on the ego's "integrity" or existence in the face of conflicting messages or contradiction, which appear to threaten one's egoic identity (asmita and samyoga). Here one is simply playing a game, wearing a mask, acting inauthentically, and deceptively. However, when this process of denial occurs automatically, unconsciously, beneath the threshold of conscious awareness,or intent, it serves the continuation of the processes of self deceit, delusion, and ignorance insidiously providing refuge to those who would willingly serve their own imprisonment for fear of a seemingly painful awakening. Thus, the distinction of conscious denial (such as conscious defensive and deceitful maneuvering) as distinct from habitual and chronic unconscious avoidance (such as self-deceit) is discerned. The analysis of that process will be expanded upon in the following sutras about asmita and samyoga. That process is easier to recognize when it manifests as conscious guilt mechanisms of defensiveness, justification, or rationalization as "self" defense or armoring. However the defense mechanism of denial which remains unconscious, compulsive, and knee jerk is more difficult to root out as it manifests as a denial of denial - a root mechanism of self deceit, and hence delusion. There one asserts that one is being honest and authentic, while in reality, they are confused and deluded, but won't admit it to themselves (or others).

Please see the section on "AVOIDANCE" below and the section on PAIN (above) for a more thorough discussion the very insidious mechanism of denial as avoidance of reality-- our true nature.

The Phenomena of "Complex Guilt" versus Simple Regret and Renunciation: Pathological Compulsive Reactive and Defensive Guilt Mechanisms as Mechanisms of Self-Justification Denying Responsibility for One's Own Actions

In a similar vein, as is found in simple denial, where one denies accountability, responsibility, or culpability in a plausible and rational manner, even when they may privately admit to themselves the truth of their actions, in the case of compulsive reactive guilt mechanisms, the insecure ego will attempt to cover-up their responsibility by lying to themselves (in defensive mechanisms of self-deceit). This prolongs the state of delusion, thus hindering awakening. Defensive guilt is the egoic self-defense mechanism attempting to protect the egoic-delusion (false identification) against the reality of transpersonal truth, which appears threatening, but in terms of awakening it is a severe negative trait, because one cannot learn and change without being open and curious. That is why remorse, regret, and non-compulsive guilt lead to renunciation of old dysfunctional habits, while allowing for new plateaus to be realized. Such is again reconfirms the indispensable value of vairagya (release), where old views must be relinquished in order to make room for the evolution of consciousness, new ideas, and creative change. Here admitting making a mistake in humility is a manifestation of a healthy simple type of guilt, which must be contrasted to defensive denial (complex guilt), which is an opposing factor toward being open and awakening..

Unfortunately messages/messengers that reminds an insular egoic defense system of the existence of altruism, empathy, compassion, moral courage, conscience, and the recognition of humanity’s common heritage as All Our Relations very often prompts defensive anger, rage, hatred, aggression in an attempt to protect the ego's sense of self-worth and pride. Those dominated by egoic pride do not want to hear nor tolerate criticism, so they resist learning by repeating the same same errors in a closed loop situation of their own making. In fact, ego dominated mindsets place a value on pride, insularity, independence, competitiveness, and comparative self-worth. They view such as good and desirable; while humility is demeaned as a weakness. Such selfish and self-gratuitous values are epidemic in competitive ego-dominated Western "culture", often deteriorating into greed, paranoia, and accompanied by violent and warlike sociopathic behavior. It is the rule, rather than the exception. Indeed, demagogues, tyrants, and bigots are excellent examples of compulsively defensive complex-guilt deniers, who attempt to shift blame upon an imagined demonic scapegoat or evil (an "other"), which automatically makes the demagogue good and right. Although greed, manipulation, fixated security issues, self-esteem issues, and paranoia can lead to gross catastrophic tragedies including human suffering in themselves. The often insidious role of defensive and compulsive reactive guilt (as egoic denial of responsibility), thus serves to entrench and solidify these human aberrations devoid of any sense of shame or conscience. In fact such defensive maneuvering serves to deny responsibility, while justifying/rationalizing one's delusion of self-righteousness. It is a form of mind manipulation, be it with conscious intent or be it as a knee jerk compulsive reaction.

Unfortunately rich examples abound such as in the demonization of negro slaves by white Southerners, accompanied by their dehumanization, hangings, and murder. Similarly, the stealing of native American land, gold, and riches were justified by a self-righteous campaign of genocide against them. The invasions and slaughter of millions during the Medieval Crusades, were also justified by self-righteousness. Similarly the burning of witches during the Inquisition served to place the Church in a superior and righteous position over the infidels. Such acts that blame the victims both assuage one's guilt, while at the same time boosts one's sense of false self-worth and superiority. Such abominations depend on the ability of demagogues to rally confused, deranged, sick, and guilt minds who seek a quick fix for their miserable situations by manipulating their weakness for self-deceit and delusion. A recent example are the many wars the United States have waged upon poor countries in order to to steal their natural resources. Their justification has been to demonize the "other's" religion, ethnic identity, and way of life as either inferior, wrong, dangerous, or evil. Similarly, the war against modern environmentalists and climate change advocates is due to the psychological pain, anger, self-hate, and complex guilt, that become externally objectified by those who need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of learning from one's mistakes, such people fall victim to making the situation worse by taking what appears to them as the easy way out, albeit dysfunctional and counter-productive in terms of waking up. In common terms it is described as shifting the blame in a futile attempt to exorcise one's inner demons through externalization and projection. Such suffering is due to ignorance of one's true nature; or one can say that such ignorance is due to the overwhelming pain brought upon oneself through a pre-existing conditioned state of unawareness, where integral consciousness has become disrupted, fragmented, and corrupted.

For a yogi, the perpetuation of such activities are classified as dishonest, which is a severe abrogation of ahimsa, satya, and asteya. This dishonesty (steya and asatya) can be entirely unconscious (compulsive), or a conscious act of deception (lies), or a combination of the two such as in schizoid behavior, hypocrisy, equivocation, fragmented thinking, a corrupted senile mindset, and/or a result of confusion (avidya). The secondary source of such abominations, being asmita-klesha; while their primary source is the disconnect and primal split from All Our Relations as the primary klesha -- avidya (unawareness) of their natural state, which discloses the true non-dual nature of mind and as a consequence blocks the recognition of the true nature of nature. In short, for a yogi, spiritual evolution (evolution of consciousness and positive spiritual change) is accomplished through the implementation of a series of yogic practices that involves self-study, self-observation, renunciation of one's erroneous ways of the past, vairagya, a healthy sense of humility to a point of samadhi-sunyam, and consequently the rediscovery of one's innate willingness, enthusiasm, and aspiration to learn, to be vulnerable and open, to act creatively in love and to be loved, to continue to be curious, to seek, evolve, and discover. Simply stated, the yogi has to renounce such foolish egoic mind games.

Object of our Compassion: Truth of Suffering

Again denial is rooted in the desire to avoid pain, misgivings, or any non gratuitous, non-flattering, or unsatisfactory experience through mechanisms of self deceit. Hence denial encompasses the kleshas of avidya, raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa as will be shown. When that mechanism is defeated, awakening and pure vision triumph. In short we can't see anything(phenomena or events) clearly when we are selectively ignoring specific parts of the whole/whologram). Although the pain is really in our mind and hence, self generated, we foolishly associate it with an external object, just as we associate pleasure and happiness with the external object. Of course happiness is a state of mind, just as unhappiness (duhkha) is a state of mind. Because it is a state of mind, it does not mean that the state of mind is unreal. Even if the determination of this is pleasurable and that is painful is based on an error of thought, it does not mean that the error of thought does not exist or has no reality. Rather errors of thought (delusional thought processes which are often labeled as illusions or wrong views) are the result of causes and conditions; i.e., the process of ideation by the ego. That mechanism is what produces suffering. In order to break up that syndrome, we practice methods that allow us to reside more in the natural selfless state.

Natural compassion is a heart-felt feeling. It is unconditional (not dependent upon conditions). It is equanimous and extended regardless as a natural expression of our natural direct non-dual primordial realization. It is not based on moral laws, ethics, logic, fear of going to hell, desire to go to heaven; but rather, it arises spontaneously when we have defeated the internal delusional processes of the egoic mindset (called the defeat of Mara). The Buddha and arhants were called foe destroyers because they defeated the real enemy, Mara. That is how one wakes up; i.e., when our internal confused predilections, fears, kleshas, and ignorance are no longer projected upon "the world". When the ego dies, then vast wisdom arises. There is no limitation or boundaries and love/compassion is automatic. Mahakaruna (great vast compassion) arises from transpersonal and non-dual realization, where the egoic delusion of a separate/fragmented self is released.

When the artificial boundaries of the egoic mindset are broken down, then that human being becomes pain free and experiences great bliss, great happiness, and a great timeless space. e become experience bliss At the same time that human being becomes aware of the mental anguish and pain of others. To be sure in authentic yoga, this process of waking up is not a reactive escape from suffering or an aversion/antipathy. It is not a selective awareness based on personal likes or dislikes, but rather unbounded awareness and love. It also significantly differs from empathy, because authentic compassion derived from authentic awakening includes active intelligence and happiness, the genuine informed desire to eliminate the anguish/suffering and causes of suffering.

Two things are necessary in order to express genuine and effective compassion. The first is having realized the direct experience of unconditional lasting happiness oneself. Such is always based on non-dual transpersonal and boundless wisdom. Freedom from the wheel of samsara (suffering) and happiness are inextricably intertwined, while true happiness and liberation is not fear based but a meeting of all ways (wholographic). There are varying levels of depth in this awakening. In order for compassion to be genuinely effective it must be married actively with this powerful wisdom.

The second necessary ingredient toward genuine and effective compassion includes the recognition of the object of one's compassion (at first an unhappy and afflicted being) coupled with the one's full intent of body, speech, and mind for them to be free and happy. Even if one were to reach a steady state of holographic awareness, where in truth, there are no boundaries, egos, or separate beings who appear to be unhappy because of unawareness (errors of the mind), just so, because of those errors themselves are operational due to causes and conditions, it would be ignorant to ignore the "other". If we try to ignore them, we become ignorant, limited, caged, fearful, reactionary, and bound. We become ignorant. The truth is that there is no independent external object of our compassion in a transpersonal/non-dual sense. In our essence we are compassion and express it naturally and selflessly. When we wake up neither self or other are objects, nor can anything be adequately objectified. We are not simply objectified phenomena, but are natural parts of ever-changing nature and timeless ever-presence (the true nature of nature), both at the same time. Non-dual realization thus produces an objectless and unfocused vast compassion that is present unconditionally at all times and places.

Although compassion can be expressed spontaneously and naturally, such has to be realized gradually until final unconditional liberation, which means that one has to recognize the truth of suffering (caused by ignorance) and the uncaused cause of happiness in order to express genuine compassion expediently. To repeat, compassion is not only the ability to be completely present with some one else's mindset of unhappiness (free from fear or aversion), but also in its higher aspect the spontaneous expression of intending happiness for that being as well as all beings selflessly. A compassionate being (depending upon the strength of their realization) does not lose their own happiness nor becomes swallowed up in the other person's mindset. Rather the truly compassionate being resides in that sacred space of unconditional happiness, which is not based on attachment to the samsaric mindset, in order to bring forth the desired result (happiness and liberation). The light and love shines through irrepressibly. The success and mode of such compassionate activity is dependent upon many factors in order for it to bear fruit, but it always remains inextricably united with wisdom (prajna). Hence wisdom and compassion form an inseparable team (upaya) as skilful means.

Religious and "New Age" Conceptual or Belief/Faith Based Errors

This subject has been dealt with extensively in I.7 (beliefs) and I.9 (conceptual fantasies). Since egoic ignorance (as belief based delusional processes) are directly related to the ideation process, which is the first step in ego ignorance (avidya and asmita-klesha), it may be helpful to talk about this specific mechanism of delusion/ignorance with the intent to reveal its causes, operation, and then to release it, rather than to further ignore it (which is the more common approach which is more palatable to the egoic mindset. It is a trick of the mind to justify or negate the suffering experience of "others" by labeling it as an illusion, unreal, as non-existent, as self created karma, or a mere hallucination. That is a cheap/quick mental trick of self-deception, in order to cope with guilt or simply to justify one's right to be happy. True happiness or clarity and peace of mind, however is not obtained in that negation, dismissal, or denial, rather it is counterproductive/dysfunctional.

A fundamental error occurs in the egoic mind who impatiently desires happiness. Since we all desire happiness, delusional thinking where the ego simply imagines itself as being happy can easily creep in, unless one is firmly rooted in wisdom. The solution to this delusional conundrum is rooted in wisdom, in so far that the yogi understands that the freedom from unhappiness and suffering is not an end in itself, but rather is a symptom that accompanies the abandonment of the causes of unhappiness. In short one first must recognize the cause of suffering (not deny it). Only then one can abandon it, having learned their lesson. Put a similar way, one must recognize the cause of true and lasting happiness, in order to embrace it. Otherwise one is simply chasing after phantoms, temporary fixes, and neurotic substitute cravings which may promise lasting happiness but are in reality diversions. Again. the key here is not happiness, but rather the wisdom/realization which brings it forward.

Similarly, this characterization may be said to apply to a person who is experiencing what is designated as "pain", who then wakes up to the causal underlying factors themselves personally. Suffering for them then is overcome on an individual level (as an personal nirvana). This is the error of the New Age egotists, wishful thinkers, illusionists, and bright-sided positive thinking. But our true reality is not egoic, delusional, made up, fabricated, or merely personal. When we truly and completely wake up, all boundaries dissolve -- all is known. That personal or individual nirvana is free of personal suffering, but it is a confusion to say that all other people have awoke because the Buddha has awoke or that because Jesus is coming, or because one has destroyed one's personal karma. Rather, Buddha and Jesus had a deeper compassionate message. Their message was not one of a personal salvation within a world of estranged souls.

Rather, the inner Buddha and inner Christ have to awake within each being for suffering to be eliminated. This is not a belief or concept, but the result of a profound transpersonal and non-dual yogic experience, where primordial wisdom has been realized. If the human being is living in the vast moment of primordial time and is able to bear its unbounded suffering and joys, then it is a fact that many beings on the planet are limited to a samsaric existence because of their limited mindsets. They are unhappy. They are experiencing anguish, fear, depression, or suffering, etc., even though that samsaric mind state is based on an error of mind (ignorance). None-the-less that is their subjective experience in fact. They still need to realize that. Again, personal or individual awakening such as a merely personal or dualistic nirvana or samadhi) is untenable. One wakes up to our common boundless true nature, which abides free from the constrictions of skin or linear time.

For example if the person understands that the so called pain is generated by the mind, and then sees through the indicator/designator to free oneself of their reactive mental state then that is a genuine spiritual realization, which differs from a mere conceptual thought that happiness is a state of mind, rather tha as a result of an experiential state where causes and conditions have become purified. This may require more elaboration, but in short beliefs and thoughts about the world and self should emanate from experiential practice. In faith/belief based systems experience is limited and dictated by the constraints of belief and concepts. Even if the beliefs and concepts appear to be utopian, they remain sterile and contrived if they have become the "bottom line".

In order to consciously become free from the samsaric mental mechanisms, one has to awake from the "I/it" dualistic sleep of ignorance (avidya), which includes all the kleshas. Those who do not, suffer in the chain of samsaric events, victims of their self made delusions no matter how grandiose. Awakening comes from consciousness, awareness, and transpersonal wisdom, not ignorance, denial, delusion, or fantasy. Although the samsaric state is a mental state, it can not be simply remedied by mere delusional thought, as though mental states do not have causes. Rather the causes have to be eliminated. This is a key difference in conceptually based systems, faith/belief based religions, and many Western New Age thought who assume that belief or thought is the determining or primary factor. They say, "just change the thought or belief". Logically it does seem logical to say that "this world is all a delusion or illusion, so I will create my own-- I will create my own perfect salvation or adapt to someone else's". According to yoga that is not waking up, but rather simply more delusion and fantasy, albeit one becomes free from the tendencies of their past delusions, but then they simply create their own spider web on top of it.

For an authentic yogic practitioner, there arises a time in their progress where they observe the operations of the citta-vrtta and abandon such -- where they realize the truth of samsaric existence, the cause of samsaric thinking, the cause of suffering, and its remedy which brings happiness and liberation. That remedy is not more fantasy (avidya) or delusion (asmita), nor is it ordinary happiness, rather normal happiness is a result of causes and conditions. The remedy is awakening -- coming into alignment with true vision (vidya) as in Sat-Cit-Ananda). This occurs when one purifies their past karma and steps into the realm of unconditional happiness after recognizing the true nature of their mind. It is not a smart mental trick, a contrived concept, nor a matter of belief. This can be a large lesson when the mind is deluded (lost in mechanisms of self deceit).

Although it would be nice to think or believe that samsaric mindsets do not exist or the mechanism of suffering could be ignored by simply negating it, denying its existence,  labeling it an illusion, pretending that it is unreal, or attempting escape from it, unfortunately human events on the planet does not support such a fantasy. Rather in order to become free from effects, one must recognize and meet their causes without fear, antipathy, denial, or negativity. When that meeting is neither painful nor pleasurable, when it devoid of any need to negate or include, then a far deeper awakening and liberation occurs from the innate core/heart nestled deep inside all beings, in and by itself. That awakening is not isolated, but universal and primordial. It is boundlessly compassionate and self luminous.

The fact of the existence of human suffering is acknowledged even for a Buddha or enlightened being. Again, that doesn't mean that the buddha is suffering directly; rather the buddha has mastered and become free of any personal karma and hence, personal suffering through transpersonal selfless understanding/wisdom. However, from the boundless transpersonal sphere, as long as any being is suffering, then the Buddha feels that suffering, while naturally desiring (out of his omnipresent infinite openness and love) to help all beings spontaneously and joyfully. That is why the Buddhas are all compassionate, fearless, joyful, happy, all knowing, and wise, missing nothing and seeing everything. Even though the Awakened One (Buddha) resides in unconditional happiness and liberation he/she exhibits infinite love and compassion naturally through his boundless HeartMind in all dimensions.

Although many faith/belief based religions, New Age thinkers, ideologues, and positive/wishful thinkers may attempt to short circuit "suffering" in order to talk oneself into an utopian everlasting bliss; such by-passing winds up as an egoic delusion, because it is contrived and fabricated being held together by logic, conceptual processes, and/or the intellect. In yoga the goal is samadhi (swarupa-sunyam, III.3) which is a total transpersonal union with the multiverse beyond any concept whatsoever, let alone the idea of separate/individual beings -- beyond the concept of an observer and object of our compassion which are all beyond the words, concepts, and artifices of belief, but rather a natural all encompassing implicate order, which is available when the practitioner releases their conceptual thought processes. In samadhi love, compassion, ahimsa, satya, asteya, etc., are natural and spontaneous expressions coming from vidya (true vision) -- residing in the evolutionary power and expressing it. In yoga one does not talk oneself into or out of situations using words, concepts or beliefs, rather the yogi uses practices in order to experience truth directly. Here "view" is uncontrived, unfabricated, and uncompounded. It is not based on words, concepts, beliefs, or even memory. It is not limited by the citta-vrtti whatsoever. As progress in pure vision (vidya) becomes more pronounced, then samsara is not known as phenomena (the world), a thing, a place or object that has any true existence. Hence there is nothing to accept nor reject. Rather all phenomena reflect primordial consciousness -- their timeless source in its wholesome completion -- there is no separate independent self found within phenomena which is constantly morphing in what appears as a magical transconceptual display, once the wisdom eye is opened to perceive that i8n pure unobscured perception.

In yogic self discipline the practitioner has to discover any and all ingrained or conditioned, ignorant, and habitual mechanisms, and mental operations, while flooding that with the light of pure consciousness until the old habitual mental-energetic conditioned patterns are broken asunder. The the discovery of everlasting light and love will be more present and available in true vision and that results in true happiness. In order to release our kleshas and negative mental habits such as the eight worldly attachments, we have to recognize them as they arise and treat them as teachers (such as the famous eight worldly dharmas). Then we have perspective, context, and awareness of these mechanism from a free space of pure consciousness. Eventually, we recognize in our own lives what Buddha called the truth of suffering (a noble truth which brings us on the path toward happiness), It says that suffering is real when the mind is trapped in the samsaric mindset. Samsara, being a state of mind and the result of causes and conditions) has to be first acknowledged/recognized. Then through awareness/recognition of the cause of suffering it can be entirely released. Then we can become free of those kleshic citta-vrtti through effective practice. That brings liberation and happiness. This is exactly what Patanjali is saying also. Once we become very free and clear, then we are able to recognize suffering in others, and naturally desire to help others. In some schools this self transformation and realization is said to require many years and lifetimes of focused practice, but also it occurs in the flash in the moment, not through belief or words, but through their surrender.

Buddha or Patanjali are not saying that suffering is the end point of course, nor are they saying that suffering or the samsaric mindset is a prison that one can not leave, rather the opposite. Rather staring pain straight in the eye without fear, disgust, or desire to escape, is a starting point on the journey to liberation and happiness -- awakening, which allows one to exorcise themselves from pain, while eventually realizing lasting happiness (samadhi or nirvana). The teaching of yoga, thus is free of denial, avoidance, escapism, or pretense, but one of liberation through awareness. The sadhak (practitioner) first has the courage to recognize their own conditioned and present situation, even if it is painful to the ego mask to look at it. The more recognition (awareness), the less ignorance and denial. Then the causes are eventually disclosed, which are dissolved by the light of the higher consciousness which discloses them.. Then the passion and enthusiasm for liberation will become effortless and unimpeded and one will practice skillfully in pathways which will completely liberate beyond any conditions or stagnant limitations.

Then one experiences boundless "self" liberation. Then they are able to help others in All Our Relations. Yes, that place and time is Here and Now, absolutely, but unless one gives up the counterproductive habit of conceptualizing and belief based imputations upon reality, one continues to fall back into stagnant self limitations, asmita klesha, and other kleshic modalities. Te difference is that a fully realized Buddha is in nirbija samadhi -- present HERE and NOW all the time, while the ordinary person who is immersed in samsaric existence may rarely experience that awakened state consciously. It is extremely wise to know that difference. A samsaric being is most likely unaware that they are experiencing samsara or suffering at all, confusing it with happiness because they are mostly unconscious. They have to wake up first to their condition and renounce it joyfully and willfully when they are ready (or when conditions and causes are ripe). Yes, it is wise to approach other beings as potential Buddhas as all beings have this innate seed potential (Buddhanature) inside them waiting to sprout and grow. They are inheritors of the evolutionary power. So we meet this fuller evolutionary potential and aspiration and bring that forward as best we know how. At the same time it is wise not to confuse that innate potential (Buddha nature) with a fully realized Buddha Now which is a contractual arrangement found in New Age thought that says: "I'm awake, then you are awake -- play my game with me"..

Through true compassion (not just empathy) a yogi who abides in truth, does not stop at merely recognizing, hearing, or even feeling the suffering of another, say the anguish of a helpless crying child, but rather spontaneously aspires to bring forth their innate happiness and beauty in the greater context of All Our Relations. The latter assumes that the compassionate yogi is situated in clear vision already or at least knows about happiness and the cause of happiness. Otherwise how can that yogi effect any compassionate change; i.e., happiness.

That is the difference between passive empathy and active, vital, and spontaneously expressed compassion. The expression of compassion is neither depression nor sadness, rather it is the active expression of transpersonal love, generosity, happiness, and selfless service (seva) naturally and spontaneously due to authentic living in the heart essence (foundational space of the boundless HeartMind.. Again authentic compassion is a natural spontaneous expression emanating from true direct vision and happiness. It is not contrived or based on rules, roles, or moral dictates, fear of punishment, or desire for reward. If compassion is the desire for all others to experience happiness and know the cause of happiness, then one must be both happy and wise. One must live in unconditional happiness and embody it.

The chronic dysfunction found in most belief/faith religious systems that promise future rewards, other faith based systems based on rules of conduct, and much "New Age thought" which advocate positive thinking, wishful thinking, remedial thought formulations, and mental affirmations and visualizations is that there is an underlying assumption that says, "if we think it to be so and hold tightly to that belief with confidence or faith, then it will come to pass" or "if positive results do not occur it is because of our lack of faith/belief" or "positive thoughts have positive results, while negative thoughts have negative results". Granted the mind has great transformative power, but all these methods being constructed upon imputation upon "reality" create a make believe reality. In short just because one believes in something, that does not make them free from delusional thinking. To go further if New Age and Faith based belief systems learn the difference between positive thought, make believe, utopian conceptions and contrivance on one hand and Reality-as-it-is as revealed by virtue of the boundless HeartMind, then more effective action will occur with longer lasting benefit. In short it is far more effective to release delusional thought processes and desire first, to realize pure vision, and then simply reflect/express that transpersonal space in All Our Relations.

It is mere wishful thinking, self deceit, and delusion to believe that phenomena (such as social events) can be altered simply by thinking differently about things, although in New Age thought this delusion is recklessly promulgated. It is reckless because that delusion serves as a substitute delusion for effective action. To be sure, our actions and behavior are influenced by our thoughts, however, it is delusional that thoughts alone (devoid of speech or bodily action) can change things by themselves In 99% of the cases, this is mere fanciful self delusion which obviates and substitutes for effective compassionate action. The percentage of people who are consciously producing telekinesis, for example, is really quite small, while it is true that thoughts affect internal states such as endocrine substances, heart rates, chemical reactions, brain waves, and internal energy patterns.

This is not to say that imagining or thinking good thoughts, making aspirational prayers, or focusing our intent are worthless. They may have some value in mental training/conditioning and reprogramming, but they are delusional if one becomes fooled, where one fails to separate the delusion from phenomena. Similarly, although thought may precede physical action, thought itself is an activity and is most often dictated by past causes (karma) at least until the spiritual practitioner starts to take responsibility to change one's thought patterns so that their perception actually is in accord to the true nature of phenomena. That occurs when past negative karmic traces have become dissolved and primordial wisdom has replaced acquired ignorance. Authentic and functional change does not happen by simply wishing things to happen. Thus for a yogi, the first step is in releasing/liberating old mental thought patterns and habits. Then natural light (wisdom) will manifest by itself and motivate us forward from primordial consciousness to evolutionary power with integrity. Transconceptual and transpersonal wisdom then spontaneously arises instructing the yogi not by the intellect or will power, but through the boundless wisdom of the HeartMind. That is yoga as surrender and practice. After one has recognized the holographic nature of reality, then thoughts take on a new power, but transpersonal and transcognitive Heart essence wisdom always acts the guide in that realm. That possibility after one has discovered their true nature. Inwardly focused intent, samaya, sankalpa, aspiration, prayer, tapas, devotion, and the like may be valuable on the yogic path, but they are not enough -- not to be confused as the fruit. They serve to focus our energy and fuel our sadhana. It is true that our view or understanding of what is real or what is not real is dependent on how we process data (how we think), but what changes is our view, not the phenomena itself. Then perhaps one day if we are wise and lucky -- if our view actually coincides with what-is-as-it-is in clear vision (in vidya) -- when the citta-vrtti have become liberated or dissolved) or cancelled out, then expedient action and evolutionary change will arise in its full power. When that happens it will be experienced as very powerful in comparison with positive thinking.

Conceptually based belief systems, intellectuals, New Age thinkers, wishful thinking, and faith based religions (Western or Eastern) confuse "reality" with the "view of reality"). With that confusion in mind (viparyaya), they then erroneously can conclude that suffering does not exist because it is based on a false view (of an ego and a separate phenomena). They may say since neither "self" or "other" truly exist separately, then there is no suffering; i.e., suffering is a lie. No doubt, intellectually that may be said to be the case in retrospect for one who has already realized the truth of "no-self" (who has merged at-wonderment with samadhi), but it is merely word constructs woven together through conceptual thinking and logic (vikalpa) which is delusional -- which has created that conclusion in the latter sense. That is a conceptual error and hence a severe self limitation (stuckness) is maintained.

In short all because one believes that something is true, to imagine that it is true is most likely an egoic delusion unless knows how to perform self inquiry/self analysis. Concepts about "self" that are flattering to the ego are very common. Here the egoic based person or group mind attempts to supplant or transfer their low sense of self esteem and deflated sense purpose upon a grander self image (ego identity) where they bequeath themselves a superior status. Instead of being based upon a deep sense of interconnectedness which is the result of realizing a vital co-creative sense of interdependence in All Our Relations, the individual or group ego confuses freedom with autonomy, insularity, aloofness, and superiority of the personal group vision as terms of separation/isolation. Taken to an extreme such forms the basis of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior.

In psychiatry, the term, neologism, is used to describe the creation of words which only have meaning to the person who uses them. It is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder indicative of a psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia in adults. In schizophrenia the break between self and "other' is so pronounced as to be unintelligible to either disparate parts of "self", to others, or to both. Hence schizophrenia is the extreme psychopathic example of disconnectedness. Usage of neologisms may also be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury. Similarly specialized jargon created by groups, clubs, or religious organizations who share various insular or arrogant identities are often driven by similar needs, motives, and mechanisms. However when an entire society or culture has gone paranoid, psychotic, or schizoid, then such misunderstood and marginalized individuals and groups may actually be islands of sanity within a sea swells of mass deluded and non-virtuous kulture. Wishful thinking, being delusional, is common because of the egoic pride (asmita) , egoic craving (raga), for ego's desire for security (dvesa), and egoic self preservation (abhinivesa). For example, the ego may crave (raga) pleasurable feelings (sukha). Pleasure is in the mind. Because of the ego's need for this type of self gratification, it may often desire those situations that make the ego feel good about itself, feel secure, or feel in control. Since the perceived pleasures are the result of the mental perception of these situations, delusional people simply make up fantasy stories about themselves in an attempt to fulfill this need. Similarly they may fall victim to demagogues and marketers who cater to their desire to feel better about themselves (their egoic identity) by convincing them of fantasies which will promise to make them happier, superior, fulfilled, or in control of situations where they may especially feel insecure or which currently produce angst. The more neurotic people are, the more easy they will fall victim to such fantasies.

Having said the above about immature New Age religions, positive thinking, delusional thinking, and immature religious belief systems in general, it would be wrong to extrapolate what has been said, that a genuine new yoga in this and coming ages is folly. To the contrary, it is the destiny of each and every generation to take the best of the old and refine it. We must identify the errors of the past, and rectify them. We must gratefully receive whatever was given in the past as functional and applicable, and adapt it to our present situation in time and space. This way we do justice to the indigenous primordial wisdom tradition. Indeed this process of expressing primordial a-temporal pure vision into temporality is the essential moment to moment joyous and compassionate task of an authentic yogi. All Our Relations

Pure vision (vidya) versus Unawareness (avidya)

In yoga, view is based on direct experience, not the other way around; i.e., direct experience is not limited or defined by view. It is not view either. The territory is never the map. From direct experience in samadhi, reality is determined. A liberated yogi lives in a reality of unconditional natural liberation and happiness, yet that same yogi acknowledges, recognizes, and respects that many others are imprisoned in the samsaric state of unhappiness. Until that direct experience of samadhi is remembered/firmly reestablished in all humans, reality dictates that there exist widespread suffering, victims of abuse, war, natural disasters, robbery, rape, exploitation, slavery, etc, all caused by the split off/disconnect from our pure original innate primordial vision -- linked by the innate intelligent evolutionary power. These victims often suffer greatly mentally. That suffering should be acknowledged as existing at least mentally. The yogi moves naturally and spontaneously to help those who are suffering, because to that yogi who abides in the boundless HeartMind," others" and self are one. They are not the same, but they are united/interconnected intimately. The yogi does not ignore nor deny it, yet he/she is not obsessed by it. Such simply comes with the great bliss of the territory. In "the world of samsara" (mental suffering due to dualistic confusion) the mind may become colored by apparent aspects of sukha or duhkha -- raga and dvesa. Both are kleshic. However, in samadhi or unconditional liberation a true, lasting, unconditional happiness is experienced, which lies outside the temporal and limited spin. That unconditional happiness of unconditional liberation is not the same as the culmination of ordinary raga (in sukha) conditioned by karma. Through yoga the modifications of consciousness are removed (citta-vrtti nirodha), so that the view corresponds to reality (vidya) as-it-is. That occurs through yogic practice, which lead to direct realization beyond the limitations of the intellect to interdict.

So in yoga, in our quest to samadhi -- to being truly present here and now- we disregard any views that are distracting, that are conceptually based, belief based, or faith based --. the result of mere mental manipulation of words (symbolic representations as they are).

Imputations of pain and suffering are indeed wiped out through direct realization which in turn alters our mental processing, but that direct realization can not be realized through the process of mental manipulation (vikalpa) according to Sri Patanjali. Although suffering and pain is based on ignorance or confusion, it is the truth of samsaric existence. Indeed ignorance, confusion, bondage, and suffering do exist -- the citta-vrtti exist, the kleshas exist, and thus for those so afflicted unhappiness (duhkha) exists.

Truth is based on self-study and recognition, not ignorance, denial, delusion, or wishful thinking. This is the teaching of Sri Patanjali and Buddha. Once the errors of false associations (avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, and samyoga) are recognized, one moves closer to eventually releasing them. If one stays fixated`in denial (in wishful fancy) liberation will be resisted. Reality can appear threatening to people who feel that their whole world and "self" would collapse without their favorite kingpin in place; yet if they could learn to celebrate change, they will be reborn in a far more fertile evolutionary field suffused with evolutionary energy.

For a fully realized yogi in samadhi, there is no longer any personal pain. Simultaneously experiencing Great Bliss, that yogi expresses spontaneously infinite boundless compassion in eternal love and happiness and brings that happiness and love forward naturally as the natural spontaneous living expression of THAT. In the relative sense the yogi has the heartfelt desire that all beings be liberated from the wheel of samsara arise naturally from direct experience. This is a natural result of authentic yogic practice. Because one yogi realizes full samadhi, that does not mean that all beings have entered samadhi, at least such has been the process in the past, however as Buddhafields grow and the truth grows -- as pure vision and awakening grows, then this realization also becomes contagious. In the fourth stage of enlightenment, the realized yogi interacts with integrity through supramental (awakened consciousness) realization with supernature (by seeing the true natural form of shakti) on an evolutionary level opening up deeper and multiplicit dimensions of being and seeing (buddhaverses/multiverses), thus forming holographic doorways -- empty gates into full and total Being and Seeing which become visible portals to other beings. Only in legends and wisdom tales do we hear the story of the coming Buddha from Shambhala who will be able to lift all beings into samadhi upon his/her complete awakening. Theoretically such is possible, but Sri Patanjali does not advise one to wait around to become liberated through another's activity, but rather to practice diligently, with wisdom, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity toward all realizing that wholistic state of samadhi beyond limited concepts of time and space, always accessible to those yogis who are most intent -- who are so focused, aligned, and united.

Jai Durga Ma!

Commonly, subconscious reactive mechanisms of denial are activated whenever it becomes too painful or unbearable for the egoic mind to accept the truth of the situation. This happens to those whose nadis are under-developed -- they short circuit into mechanisms of dvesa (aversion). For example fight or flight syndromes may manifest when an ego perceives a threat. Complex guilt mechanisms are good examples. One such dissociative mechanism may occur when one commits an act of destruction, an unspeakable violence, a heinous crime, a severe injury by accident without malicious intent, or in a schizoid manner to another being or group. Being horribly painful to an intolerable point, the pleasurable alternative becomes to disown the action, to disown responsibility, to ignore the event occurred or to color it in a self gratuitous framework of denial, delusion, and deceit/conceit. This may happen entirely unconsciously and compulsively and become chronic and habitual denial or ignorance, much like anyone else who have suffered severe mental trauma becomes triggered through unconscious mental associations with past unresolved painful experiences. The intolerance to the pain involved may be so severe that one needs dissociates, becomes schizoid, catatonic, psychotic, or assumes multiple personalities. Such a dissociative mechanism may also occur when one witnesses a horrible atrocity committed to someone or thing that they love, cherish, or treasure, while doing nothing. One may go into denial that the event occurred in the first place, retreat into disbelief, or suffer amnesia, rather than to confront the pain of the situation.

For example it is more convenient and self gratuitous to believe that as a Brit, the British provided moral direction and superior culture to the colonized Africans; that the Spanish provided a superior moral and religious civilization to the indigenous North American Indians whom they lied to, cheated, pillaged, robbed, murdered and enslaved; that the crusaders in the Middle East were doing the work of the prince of peace by murdering infidels, and so on. These are only a few obvious examples of the denial mechanism of self deceit (ego delusion) operating in everyday life. This is the main mechanism why people do not learn and continue to evolve spiritually. Complex mechanisms of guilt are mechanisms of deep self deceit (delusion) where one tells oneself a story of justification to boost their feelings of low self esteem. Racial, nationalistic, religious, provincial, and ethnic pride is one such story.

Ultimately ignorance (avidya) is denial of the true Self, while replacing such with a surrogate "self" (asmita). It is the accompanied by the dimming or obscuration of the original clear light/vision. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one very common example where the egoic mind finds the situation too painful to accept or assimilated, hence one dissociates from their deepest feelings, numbs them out, or attempts escape via denial mechanisms such as shock, "I can't believe it, it's too horrible to believe, it's too painful to accept, I am numbed out, speechless, breathless, lost, disorganized, overwhelmed, and so forth". Pain, dissociation, aversion, or shock is one such mechanism which blocks the message pathway and obstructs the awareness when the pain threshold is reached or overwhelmed. It is ideal to have no pain threshold; i.e., being ABLE to face the truth in all situations without pain, aversion, denial, guilt, pride, or ignorance. Eventually the truth will take one to alignment with great inexpressible beauty, bliss, union, and liberation, but on the way various frontiers must be crossed by not clinging -- by opening up.

Once someone is numbed out and has become inured to be insensitive to their deepest feelings (be it painful or pleasurable), they no longer are capable of trusting their innate sensitivity, intuition, insight, heart-felt gut feelings, transconceptual (nirvikalpa) inner wisdom, or transpersonal heart essence; hence, they chronically live inside a limited superficial dimension defined by their armored denial mechanisms. Through yogic practice (secondary causes) one's mindstream, karma, samskaras, kleshas, and vasana (old habits or tendencies) will at first become weakened and then purified. What will result is pure vision. Then the yogi operates beyond the causal plane free from conceptual grasping in the profound eternal present.


Just like the past practice sit or stand quietly and take a few deep and conscious healing breaths utilizing the diaphragm. Take one more breath. Now scan the present contents of your mind for residues of avidya or painful experiences where you have taken objects as existing independently, as self existing by themselves, as separate from the causeless causal momentum of happiness, and our innate mutual inter-relationship with all other beings and things. Allow the universe to resettle around this open and expansive inter-dependent co-creative integral universal vision. Breathe out and in again, while allowing this integral multiverse to expand and resettle again and again until a steady in-depth feeling and joyous light, which is free from craving or angst becomes all pervading and complete. Breathe into this self luminous space again and again, modulating it, and recognize it as your natural condition -- as natural all pervading clear light and pure vision. If limited self identifications arise, recognize them for what they are and offer them up to the throne of the all creating primordial mind. Over and over again surrender to the innate timeless Buddhanature that wishes to express itself in light and love here and now.

In the natural healthy sane state of innate pure being (swarupa-sunyam), unhappy tendencies and negative feelings are eventually rejected naturally and effortlessly moving us spontaneously into light, beauty, and love in wisdom. Bathing in that transconceptual space and light, we rest. Lacking that wisdom or light, we fall into samsaric existence and pain (unhappiness).

Now Patanjali describes the four remaining principle kleshas, which can combine/commingle with each other to form a plethora of afflictive conditions and negative karma, forming a vicious circle of unhappiness (duhkha), that constitutes the tragedy until the cycle is broken. This process is observed both in daily life, but refined and fructified through meditation practice (dhyana).

Christopher Chapple translates this sutra simply as:

"Ignorance is seeing the the non- eternal; as eternal, the impure as pure, dissatisfaction as pleasure, and the non-self as self."


II. 6. Drg-darsana-saktyor eka atmata iva asmita

The obstruction called asmita (ego delusion) is the result of the more specific process of confusing the inherently transpersonal and eternal powers and processes of consciousness with that of individual intellectualization or cognition which then results in faulty identification with fragmented existence (ekatma) -- a fabricated sense of a separate "I" or ego.

drg: the action of seeing/observing

darsana: what is seen, the object of seeing, that which is revealed

saktyor: power. Here the power of seeing or revealing.

ek: one

atma: self

iva: as if

eka atmata iva: As if it were one self.

asmita: The egoic-delusion of an independent self (atman) or rather its imputation as an independent phenomena, object, or event. The fragmented and limited view of "self" as being separate and independent within a limited subject/object (I/it) dualistic framework. Asmita is the result of a fundamental confusion where the intellect creates the fantasy of separation from the foundation of all/source, hence a sense of spiritual alienation and fragmentation is created, wherefrom desire for completion (raga) and the objective sense of ownership or lack is fabricated. In short asmita is the egoic mindset that defines oneself as being separate and independent from primordial cause and the intelligent evolutionary force/energy. The English word, pride or the Greek word, ego, is often used by translators, but they are inaccurate terms as understood from within the egoic mindset perspective. Asmita can not be understood accurately from within confusion, yet Sri Patanjali, by explaining its role as an obscuration allows us to identify the mechanism as it comes up in daily life and hence allows us to consciously liberate from that mental mechanism. Perhaps a better word in English for "asmita" is the mindset of delusion, self deceit, or the false identification of an imaginary and confused separate or contrived "self", which when fixated upon (such as in prideful associations) resists the conscious participation with reality. Most often delusions are somewhat unconscious, but in all cases they are the result of ignorance of the true essential self, swarupa. Solipsism is a subset of asmita.

Commentary: Another way of saying this is that asmita (as a limited false identification) occurs when we falsely identify the power of seeing drg-darsana-saktyor as emanating from a separate self (ekatmatevasmita); while in truth the Infinite power of consciousness (cit-sakti) being omnipresent, universal, unbounded, and all pervasive emanates simultaneously both from within ourselves and within all things transpersonally. The intellect (buddhi) and manas (both ascribed to egoic mental functioning) are but a reflection (darsana) of that primordial eternal and infinite omnipresent original mind (primordial wisdom), which resides in all. The imputation of the appearance of a separate power of intelligence apart from primordial consciousness only reinforces the delusion of a separate self, standing as an alone seer (drg). In that way, duality is reinforced by this non-recognition, because one reinforces the citta-vrtti of a fixated objectified field of consciousness, which is defined as separate from the observer. In short, the power of consciousness and also self-identity is mistakenly attributed given to the intellect (buddhi), rather than from listening, seeing, feeling, and experiencing from a transpersonal non-dual Infinite Mind context in All Our Relations. Asmita identifies and defines itself within the purview of avidya (the split apart from the complete integrity of conscious beingness -- union/yoga. That non-recognition of splitting consciousness from beingness (Sat and Cit) produces all the kleshic obscurations, thus reinforcing asmita as one neurotic coping mechanism that holds onto confusion and the citta-vrtti, as an ego-survival mechanism, versus vidya - as open-now awareness. Asmita is misidentification, where the ego (false self) misidentifies with the fluctuations of the mind field (citta-vrtti) as defining a separate objectified "self"(drg); hence a dualistic field of consciousness is seen, rather than swarupa (the true self as defined by Patanjali as swarupa-sunyam in III.3), which is a natural union with one's own primordial true nature empty of a separate self. (See I.3-4).

Where delusion is self-induced "consciously" as in solipsism, such beings are more resistant to waking up than those who are afflicted unconsciously. The unconsciously deluded human may be merely confused, hypocritical, self contradictory, and corrupt because of a lack of inner integrity of thought -- avidya. That person can desire clarity/truth and find it. On the other hand the trickster, actor, consciously dishonest person, professional con-man, or liar has made a decision to obscure the truth and in many cases to obscure/hide it from others. That type of deceit is still delusion, but the deluded person imagines that they are free, informed, and undeluded. Their error is they mistake conscious awareness of their mask, as conscious awareness of reality -- as the true nature of their own mind and of nature.

"The self or ego is a mere concept. Identifying with the ego begins the process of delusion and suffering. From believing in the existence of self, we then proceed to thinking of "I," "my," and "mine" -- my body, my clothes, my house, my relatives, my friends, my enemies. This is how we create a fundamental split between the "I" and the rest of the world. From this split comes the impulse of grasping at whatever we expect will be pleasant or useful to the self. Or the opposite, were we feel aversion toward anything that threatens or displeases the self. All these attachments arise because of clinging to the "I." Thus, we maintain a continuum of mental confusion and basic ignorance."

~ HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Asmita is thus a fundamental result of the act of non-recognition, the act of ignoring (ignorance), avidya (Sanskrit), or ma-rigpa (Tibetan), where in the process of ideation, one speculates the true existence of a separate-self as observer, and hence seemingly solidified "observed objects" that are imputed to be bereft from a wholistic context. That is, the solidification the dualistic fog (of samprajnata). In samadhi (III.3) according to Patanjali, there exists no separate independent-self, and hence no separate independent object. That does not mean that illusion truly exists, is the real situation (reality), or any similar nihilistic conclusion is the unobstructed situation, rather I/it dualistic frameworks are limited, fragmented, incomplete, unreliable, and illusory. The concept of "self" (asmita) is an inexact reification, projection, conceptualization, or worse a belief in fragmented dualistic systems. Such grasping has to be let go or even further immersion in samsara and dukha will result. Samadhi is the transconceptual goal to be gleaned in the present (now and in All Our Relations, not to be philosophically grasped/adhered to, but rather experienced through non-dual transconceptual yogic practices.

In asmita-klesha, the identifier ("I") stubbornly identifies as a separate "self" apart from the primordial source and its intelligent evolutionary power (creation) which is the error of the atman thinking itself separate from Brahman. Instead of thinking oneself into a self limiting box (citta-vrtti), the larger all inclusive transpersonal Reality or Self which is boundless and all pervasive awaits to be recognized should we seek it. Asmita in turn forms the base of arrogance, pride, haughtiness, pomposity, bombastic, and superior behavior, which can easily lead to supremist prejudice, religious, racial, and sectarian intolerance and so forth.

When consciousness is obstructed and does not see in clear vision the true nature of "Self" as Universal Self (as swarupa-sunyam in III.3), then an impure substitute view is established as a result of this separation/replacement. This manufactured or contrived ersatz reality is called asmita. This artificial construct, because it is lacking in Self recognition and "reality", it is constantly trying to establish its security, sense of self worth, meaning, purpose, and survival, thus it prevents its own self liberation. That is the tough shell that asmita builds around itself as its egoic self centered, self defensive, and self constructed mindfield (citta-vrtti ). Asmita assumes ownership, and with ownership there is fear of losing, anxiety, possessiveness, jealousy, hatred, or attachment, all of which limit consciousness and being. The pleasure thus derived is limited and far less palatable that the unity of pure consciousness, pure beingness, and pure bliss (Sat-Cit-Ananda). Asmita like avidya and all the other kleshas may appear desirable or rational, yet it not only creates negative karma and suffering, but is the embodiment of suffering itself, even when the ego is being stroked. There are many examples. For example, after a difficult work week at the office putting up with the boss and co-workers, one goes to what they consider a wild and exciting party where he over-drinks alcohol, takes harmful drugs, over-eats, yells loudly, tries to rape a female, and gets into a fight. That person may conclude that they had a great time, but in reality it was merely reflexive; i.e., a release of tensions due to a repressive work and family life -- a temporary karmic release which on that level felt good , but on another level, hurt one's body, one;s mindstream, other people, and ones future karmic consequences. This person may call that a good time, but a yogi may feel compassion for the party goer. Similarly there are so many energy sucks and negative karma involved when ego driven people seek ego gratification in fancy clothes, cars, objects, friends, status, status symbols, control and dominance over others, gossip, condemnation of others, mutual self admiration, and so on. For example, one may go to a victory party after the victory of your ball team, your company, your war, your this or that, but although superficially that seems exhilarating or pleasurable, a deeper look would disclose that it is the result of suffering, lack of self esteem, negative emotions, or simply because one was not feeling good about oneself previously. Again it was a reflexive happiness based on a temporary release of negativity.

Consequences of asmita are lack of self-esteem, jealousy and envy. The lack of self-esteem is replaced by the need for status, privilege, winning over, one-upmanship, and bumptious, cavalier, chesty, condescending, patronizing, arrogant, highfalutin (also hifalutin), high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, huffish, huffy, imperious, important, lofty, lordly, masterful, overweening, peremptory, pompous, presuming, presumptuous, pretentious, self-asserting, sniffy, stiff-necked, supercilious, superior, toplofty, uppish, uppity behavior.

The element of envy is strongest when one is separated/split from the Great all inclusive Integrity, because one's innate meaning, purpose, and vision (and hence true self worth) are absent, hence low self-esteem becomes a symptom of the disconnect from this primary spiritual relationship. Mentally comparing one's hollow self image situation with others in terms of status, privilege, will increase one's self-hatred and pain ,which is then projected outward as jealousy, envy, or even a desire to do harm to others in a vain and perverse attempt to erase one's own pain. Although anger, hatred, and envy is often described as painful (kleshic) states of mind caused by the good fortune of others; it is due to our own mind by identifying egoic ownership of a separate self often caused by false images emanating from the mechanism of the ersatz super ego (inner censor), which tells us that we are not good enough. That only occurs when we are not engaged in life in a meaningful way -- where our spiritual self purpose is not being fulfilled in life, when we are not vitally connected and at one with all beings and things in the non-dual context of an integrated whole.

Regarding the superego, it is usually the result of conditioned by isolated factors such as time, place, society, peers, external scripts, scripture, or any external authority figures, ideology, or philosophies; however in the yoga context it comes through as guidance from the innate timeless unconditioned original teacher as living guidance,

Kant defined envy as:

"a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another's because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others".

In the "ordinary" state of dualistic consciousness, where on thinks of oneself as a separate-self (asmita), an object in itself that objectifies, or as a phenomenon, then such a seer is not aware that one's vision is being severely limited by this cut, false identification, or dualistic bias. When we view an object of cognition in that framework of duality, where there appears a separate-self viewing a separate "self" (as object), and we are not aware of this duality, but rather falsely understand it to be one process (eka), then we suffer from the particular manifestation of avidya called asmita (or ego-sense), rather than as being a participant and reflection of the universal transpersonal Undifferentiated Eternal Source, which permeates and animates the entire universe. In truth, the "self" does not exist separate or apart from the universal laws (dharma) of the universe, but rather can only be said to exist (if at all) as an intimate and intricate part within a non-dual context of a whole system.

Simply put, asmita is attachment to limited`views about self and the world as any dualistic and fragmented view of of an independent separate self and "other" (ek atman) is subject to, no matter how refined and subtle. rather such a fragmented view of self and other serves as an obscuration. The view or map is not the territory. Rather the yogi who desires liberation must take the path/practice into the view.

Asmita occurs when the ego identifies with the limited mindfield called citta-vrtti (see I.5), and especially the tenacious pramana-vrtti (I.7), which is attachment to so called "right views". On the other hand, samadhi is the integration of a transpersonal non-dual " seer" (asamprajnata) in pure vision (vidya) beyond even the most subtle identification (nirvicara). But asmita is dualistic (samprajnata). Asmita is the hindrance/obscuration or affliction (klesha) of the delusional mind that identifies oneself falsely as a separate entity (self), ego. In short asmita is an ego delusion, an arrogance, pomposity, a compensatory sense of self worth or pride, a self deceit, a desire for increased recognition, status seeking, power mongering, and related combinations and permutations all tinged with avidya (ignorance).

In comparison in order to avoid confusion, this sutra is often interpreted as saying that asmita occurs when the seer and the the seen are experienced as one. What is perhaps more clear is to say, that asmita (egoic delusion) is the result when the self (atma) is identified as one with (eka) phenomena and/or defined by objects and external events. These objects may be defined by external phenomena, social standing, orders, status, privilege, comparative advantage, caste systems, nationality, race, religion, parents, peers, loved ones, teachers or any other external method. However in authentic yoga what is required always is true "Self" knowledge which comes from practice. The true self is not a separate independent entity capable of standing alone or isolated by itself (III.3).

In Eastern thought, there are many definitions of (S)elf/(s)elf. One is the atma separate or independent from Brahman. That is asmita. Then there is the purusa as defined by samkhya as being separate, withdrawn and independent from everything (the passive Brahman). Then there is the Self as all inclusive presence inherent and implicate in all as all -- everywhere and all pervasive (the active Brahman). Then finally there is the expression of that Self as true Self in action-- when the yogi becomes the empty vessel for the evolutionary power (kundalini) or call it divine will if you will.

Of course, for the non-yogi, consciousness has become conditioned/corrupted to identify with and be defined by "appearances and symbols (separate objects) or "phenomena" (citta-vrtti). Such (such is the ordinary dualistic state of samsara - duhkha. In the modern age arrogance and pride are knee jerk afflictive and often stubbornly addictive compensatory emotions where the victim attempts to defend and build up their ego insecurity by reinforcing their delusion through methods of self aggrandizement, justification, arrogance, denial of any wrong doing, avoidance of seeing past faults, demonization or condemnation of others, self righteousness, inflated sense of superiority -- in short through the many self deluding reactive methods of arrogance and denial. Asmita is one of the most difficult kleshas to remedy, because the ego misidentifies with itself and thus falsely misinterprets signals that do not support its delusional assumptions as threats to "ego self", thus either defending "ego selfhood" and/or attacking the purveyors of the signals (truth bearers and truth bearing seeds). Arrogance, hubris, pomposity, overbearing pride, conceit, smugness, narcissism, dismissiveness, presumption, cavalierism, condescension, pretension, prejudice, pompousness, disdain, imperiousness, haughtiness, braggadocio, smugness, cockiness, over confidence, snobbery, patronage, affectiveness, vanity, mockery, causticness, flashiness, prestigious, snootiness, boorishness, foppishness, ostentation, self centeredness, self cherishing, self involvement, egocentricity, ego mania, close mindedness, narrow mindedness, jealousy, competitiveness, sibling rivalry, desire for fame, prestige, or status, etc., primarily are variants of and/or an admixture of asmita with raga, dvesa, abhinivesa, and/or the other vagaries of avidya.

“A collective ego manifests the same characteristics as the personal ego, such as the need for conflict and enemies, the need for more, the need to be right against others who are wrong . . . . Can you see any of those characteristics in a group you are part of—your company, team, organization, church, country?"

Eckhart Tolle

Such activities shape group egos, the silent conspiracies of mass delusion, and the destructive activities of mass hysteria, pogroms, genocide, racism, nationalism, and war. That these forces are mostly unconscious and in denial in the mass populace, unscrupulous "leaders" such as demagogues have manipulated and exploited people as their willing slaves, concubines, and soldiers for thousands of years. This is exactly the building blocks that the kleshic aspect from which the pramana citta-vrtti is constructed. Delusions, shame, guilt, scapegoating, nationalism, racism, sexism, chauvinism, xenophobia, prejudice, war, pogroms, and intolerance are reinforced and amplified by negative group peer pressure based on ignorance (avidya), self deceit, conceit, and delusion (asmita). Also concomitant with that a powerful collective karma is formed as well.

Self absorbed, narcissistic, or egocentric individuals tend toward delusions of pride and superiority, which tends to join groups which reinforce their common delusion and conceit such as organizations that reinforce group pride, racial, national, religious supremacy, or similar supremist organizations. Much of what is called radical fundamentalism and all other chauvinistic tendencies stem from this narcissistic need to reinforce one's already diminished feelings of self worth and false identification. Narcissism as a specific modality of asmita is indeed a compensatory mechanism derived from lack of clear meaning, innate purpose, and hence true sense of identity rooted in swarupa. Such chauvinistic and defensive groups seeking self justification thus feed one's need for delusion and self deceit (asmita).

Such people seek out like-minded support groups and teachings/teachers and ideologies which tell them how great and superior they are as compared to other groups which differ from them, thus encouraging provincial close mindedness, while avoiding, disparaging and/ or demonizing the harbingers of different minded groups or messengers that contradict their predilections and narrow mindedness. People who have been stripped of their own ability to think for themselves, to trust their innate feelings, to believe in their innate wisdom, goodness, or buddha nature, are particularly vulnerable to this dangerous distraction. Ignorance of Self again being the root cause of all the other kleshas. See I.17 and I.18 for the difference between samprajnata (with asmita-raga) and asamprajnata (non-dual/acognitive) realization.

Asmita pertains NOT only to mere identification with sense objects, but identification in general, " the very idea of self ownership issues, "I am-ness”, the ideation process, ego sense, self centeredness, self image, one's view of "self" in the world, and hence all that goes along with that such as identification with  citta-vrtti elements of attachment,  things, status, comparative power, security, jealousy, privilege, will for power, control over others, competitiveness, the need to condemn/debase others and elevate one’s  ego image,  being a hotdog, smart ass, know it all, show off, inferior/superior, the need for intellectual ownership, lust for fame, self importance, haughtiness, arrogance, superiority/inferiority complexes,  hubris, nationalistic pride,  religious pride, religious supremacy, racial supremacy,  ethnic superiority, bigotry, intolerance, the need for  political prowess, the need to belittle or blame others, sexual supremacy, greed/possessiveness, chauvinism, provincialism,  and so forth all of which fall within the definition of asmita, which are not limited to sense objects, but rather the mind. Letting go of what we think we know, our beliefs about self; or mental fixations and patternings have to be included in this housecleaning. That is the power of vairagya to accomplish (see I.12-18) as well as the other yogic practices. When we no longer limit/imprison ourselves to any specific I/it "thingness" in the morass of habituated conceptualized subject/object duality, then all hindrances fall away revealing all. When ego approaches zero, consciousness approaches infinity). Then we can truly open up to the unlimited boundless HeartMind.

"We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy, which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life."

- HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Taken as such, asmita, is a rather very large player in causing self limitation, constriction, citta-vrtti, and negative karma. Asmita and avidya form the basis of turtle shell egoic armoring, withdrawal, fear, defensive, aggressive, prideful, bigoted, dogmatic, and close- minded activities of mind, speech, and body. All the rest of the kleshas are variants and extensions of avidya and asmita. Indeed Sri Patanjali mentions asmita as a primary impediment in many places and the limitation in samprajnata (dualistic cognition) as the limitation of apara-vairagya in I.17 and versus para-vairagya (as in asamprajnata) non-dual states (I.18). The transpersonal is an intimate partner with non-dual because there is no subject/object duality in asamprajnata (I.18).

The Final Victory over Mara and his Minions (Delusion)

There are countless numbers of myriad types of unhappiness due to asmita, as delusion and self -deceit. Buddha and Patanjali both addressed this mechanism of self deceit similarly, as the root cause of delusion called, Mara. Mara is the embodiment of all the kleshas. Mara is a fabricated ideation of the conceptual mind that imputes a conceptual error of a separate self, the ego (atman), independent or apart from primordial source consciousness -- as apart from the evolutionary force. Hence a spiritual estrangement becomes fixed. As such, asmita, is the fundamental player in delusion (Mara) whom Buddha defeated on the night of his enlightenment -- where the word, buddha, simply means to wake up from delusion.

Again this is not to be understood intellectually or conceptually by the discursive mental faculties, rather delusion is a mechanism to identify in our daily practice (through awareness) and then once recognized, it can be liberated. Delusion is not an illusion. On Buddha's long dark night of enlightenment, his last obstacle was to defeat mara. the seductress/deceiver. Mara being nothing other than self deceit/delusion, he could not use delusion to destroy delusion -- he could use the dualistic mind to destroy dualism, nor could he use the intellect, words, or concepts. Buddha paid little attention to mara's lies, temptations, and threats, rather he immersed himself in non-dual absorption -- in profound interdependence with all beings and things as his rightful place, empty of a separate independent self. Hence he achieved selflessness. Losing aloneness, the Buddha gained thusness with all beings and things, in all dimensions and times, In Buddha's final victory over mara, Buddha touched the earth as his vajrasana -- as the seat of total unquestioned enlightenment, summoning all of creation as his witness. This act symbolized engagement and connection, rather than negation, isolation, or avoidance. In short the wavering all reflective mirror of nature, stemming all the way back to the beginning of time, reflected back to Buddha testifying to his final and complete enlightenment, as Mother Nature bore witness without any possibility of mentally contrived guile, fear, or separation. Mother nature symbolizes shakti, the great unconditioned state, free from karmic programming, guile, or limitation, while intimately connected to boundless primordial consciousness (Shiva/Shakti). Nature is defined as natural, unconditioned, uncontrived, unfabricated, devoid of artifice, and hence unbiased. THAT is pure non-dual and unconditional witness consciousness embodied (Cit Shakti iti). That is nothing other than the liberated state where one's true self nature rests the union of primordial consciousness and the evolutionary/creative energy (svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir). See the last sutra in the Yoga Sutras, Pada IV, Sutra 34, "purusa-artha-sunyanam gunanam pratiprasavah kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti."

Buddha's awakening story emphasizes that waking up is not about telling ourselves a better story, conceptualizing or visualizing a better more perfect world, or verifying one's identity conceptually; but rather when all mental contrivances of the intellect cease, then a universal primordial consciousness (cit) is recognized. Then, in that transconceptual (nirvikalpa) wordless state (aprapancita), which is free from belief systems, the rain cloud of dharma bestows its inconceivable blessing. There is nothing to do, but much to undo -- not do by opening up to what-is-as-it-is devoid of contrivation or artificiality, pure from the beginning. From HERE, action is natural, spontaneous, wise, and uncontrived.

Mara’s defeat as a defeat of egoic-delusion, is not a popular topic in an egoic society. Given the standard psychological definition, one can say that delusion is a strong or absolute conviction/belief (about self and the world) based on limited evidence or experience; however, that would include most everyone except those who may have realized the true nature of mind -- the all-creating mind. Delusions can also be the opposite extreme; e.g., nihilistic or cynical, as a firm belief that one does not exist or that nothing exists, or all is as we think it is, an illusion. Unfortunately, these two extreme definitions fit modern man’s ordinary samsaric state of mind all too well.

In a spiritual sense, delusions (as avidya/marigpa) are caused through negative conditioning – an artificial contraction of a natural state of holographic openness, which has become repressed/compressed; while psychology states various causes such as delusions arising from distorted and fragmented conclusions that attempt to explain life’s experience to oneself, as well as defensive delusions, which are identified as a coping mechanism to deal with significant challenges to one’s egoic identity/world view by attempting to preserve egoic self-esteem. In the latter situation, the egoic-being may view others beings or external sources as causes for their personal difficulties in order to preserve a positive self-view. Indeed there can and do exist “external” causes for conditions, but understanding these causes involves giving up the need to defend one’s ego (self-esteem). Such an investigation becomes successful when one is onepointedly focused upon the defeat of the root of egoic delusion (Mara). Once Mara is defeated, then the true nature of phenomena shines through on its own accord..   Of course, my belief may also be delusional, but I think, that one path that is still open, is Buddha’s living example of the earth goddess (Bhudevi or Prithivi Devi) bearing universal, unbiased, and impartial witness, is admittedly allegorical.

One story goes: “The Bodhisattva stretched down his right hand and touched the earth, summoning her to be his witness. The earth deity in the form of a beautiful woman rose up from underneath the throne, and affirmed the Bodhisattva's right to occupy the vajrasana. She twisted her long hair, and torrents of water collected there from the innumerable donative libations of the Buddha over the ages created a flood. The flood washed away Mara and his army, and the Bodhisattva was freed to reach enlightenment.”   

Prithivi means that which contains or embraces everything completely leaving nothing to be included or anything to add. Prithvi Devi also can be Ratnagarbha, the repository of gems  as a fructifies, or simply as neutral as tathagatagarbha (literally the innate embryo/potential of all Buddhas inherent in all sentient beings as presented in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras and particularly in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra or in short, Buddha-nature). Buddha-nature is thus presented as natural, unconditioned, unfabricated,  uncreated, original, and indestructible essence (svabhava) or true universal self of all beings. That is to say, it is empty of an independent/separate existence apart from the whole (the living hologram). That is the union of pure naked being and absolute consciousness or sometimes described as the inseparability of clarity/vividness and emptiness, or simply as the union of wisdom and emptiness (sunyata). When habitual thought patterns or adventitious obscurations cease, then the innate clarity and light spontaneously and naturally arise illuminating the way.   

Asmita as Delusion: The Mother of all Vikalpas, Pramana, Viparyaya, Dissociation, Fragmentation, Spiritual Alienation, Dvesa, Raga, Parigraha, and other Kleshas

The kleshas are the glue that hold together the samsaric mindset whose hallmark is unhappiness. Samsara is based on ignorance (avidya) of pure vision (vidya) -- it is a disconnect and interruption from primordial consciousness. Although it is true that primordial consciousness is immutable, its presence or recognition in human beings can vary considerably according to the play of karma and klesha. The error of asmita (separate self) or rather ideation, is the building block for further discomfort and suffering. It is a result of a primal rend from Primordial Consciousness and its innate evolutionary power.

"The experience of samsara consists basically in one being forced to view oneself as the grasper (grahaka), the enjoyer (bhoktr), the knower (jnatr) of all beings, which are then viewed as the graspable (grahya), the enjoyable (bhojya), the knowable (jneya). There one cannot help mentally constructing the distinction between the subject and the object, the grasper and the graspable, the enjoyer and the enjoyable."

"A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience: A New Translation and interpretation of the Works of Vasubandhu the Yogacarin" by Thomas A. Kochumuttom

That above quote takes the dualistic position of a separate self and separate object within the limited context of monism. That samsaric error does not account for the true Self (which is empty) wherein the boundless mind is disclosed. See the discussion of samyoga starting at II.17 for more on monism, which is a confusion of one thing as being the same as another distinct thing, where absolute monism says that all things are the same. However in yoga all things are interdependent having no separate existence of their own, but not the same. Even on the lowest level of karma, they are created by prior causes and ripen by conditions, and being temporary and subject to karma and conditions they transmute, change, and are impermanent. In short they are not self existing. But that is just the lowest level of realization of karmic laws and a and the truth of impermanence of phenomena and observed objects (physical or mental) as pointed out clearly in I.17 and I.18. Beyond that is when the yogi steps free from karma and the samsaric mindset. Then he/she steps free from dualistic conceptualization processes (Vikalpa and samprajnata mentations). This is an inconceivable experienced which is catalyzed via yoga sadhana. It can not be reached by the intellect (buddhi), the ordinary mind (manas), and most certainly not by the egoic mindset.This will be further elaborated upon in II.17 above.

Where we have widespread and fixated mental confusion (avidya) as limited false identification (samyoga), we do not know authentically "self". Often one's mindstream becomes confused by society, friends, religious leaders, eternal authority, standards, and peers as to what is true and what is false, what is the purpose of life, what is real, and who is self -- what-is-as-it-is. In normal but unnatural development, too often, the young person either accepts blindly the authority of his culture, parents, religion, nation, and/or peers, or they rebel away from it, or they become discouraged as to having confidence that they will ever think it out for themselves. This quest for "self", truth, or "identity" can be very daunting and even overwhelming to young people. The stress and conflict, appearing overwhelming, can have tragic results especially in adolescence when the intellectual facilities come into blossom alongside sexual feelings which often conflict with Western societal standards. This is where inner conflict can arise, multiple personality disorders, dissociation from one's own feelings schizophrenia, indifference, apathy, the different "selves" of multiple personality disorder, catatonia, psychotic breaks, or mildly as the repression of certain parts of the self and the attempt to put another "self" on top; i.e., internal repression, inhibition, dissociation, and fragmentation. This is exacerbated in societies that overly value competition and have marginalized the importance of nature, natural function, and living systems, while maximizing the value of ego, competition, strife, conflict, and war.

To avoid that tension of so many voices telling one what they should do and how to see the world and self, many often will simply "cave-in" and attempt to adapt to a chosen strict ideology or authority, to a clear and "object law and order system, societal norms, even if it is a repressed life in a suppressed and imprisoned society. This is done by inhibiting/numbing one's own feelings and their own critical thought abilities. That severe split is the primal trauma which calls for healing in adult life no matter how buried it may be. This method of mental confusion and torture is in fact, how authoritarian puppetmasters gain support and adherents as the inner conflict becomes too much to bear for the confused and dumbed down "individual".

In a repressed and authoritarian society it is rare that this ability, to think for oneself critically and creatively, will survive in a functional and wholistic way, let alone one's innate ability to question unexamined assumptions, especially those built upon one's adaptation or compromise with "reality" and sense of "self". With that ability missing, so does deep confidence, meaning, and true conviction. In its place, belief systems, ideology, religion, or cynicism are grasped upon. In that circumstance it is rare to continue on the quest which most often involves leaving home (symbolically or literally), going/thinking outside the box, breaking taboo, dismissing the prison of cultural conditioning and standards, questioning religious ideology, nationalistic, provincial, or ethnic pride eventually discovering universal knowledge or non-reified Self-knowledge, which is the wholly quest that the authentic yogi must travel. For the true yogi, no compromise in this regard is possible. One must be ruthless with the egoic mechanisms rooting out delusion/self deceit. Here one will find that one's most favorite and self gratifying delusions and illusions will be the most tenacious -- the most resistant to surrender. The more these are challenged, the more resistance and kleshas will be brought up to the surface.

Hence, the so called "identity crisis", usually very "pointed" at puberty or at the time of "change of life", has neurobiological and energetic components that are addressed by authentic yoga, which impacts also upon the mind, emotions, and world view simultaneously. In fact, this process is ongoing to some extent 24/7 during one's entire life as each moment presents a miraculous choice and opportunity to those who are still fully alive and intact (have kept alive integrity and connection with spirit alive). Here the accessibility to an non-ideological spiritual community (sangha) and daily practice (sadhana) is a valuable aid. Surrounded by loving, conscious, and liberated beings (or those firmly dedicated) is helpful in critical times where one must let go of delusions, pretensions, ideology, false beliefs, and deception that are rife in the general society, that are popular, or even epidemic. In short, the lies that we must exorcise and cease to believe, are also the same limited beliefs and stories that are dominant and limit our immediate society as a whole, unless that society is itself truly enlightened (just believing it as so is just another mass delusion). A critical analysis of mass behavior (society) will disclose an underlying psychology of mass delusion, belief about self, and ideology.

Just as vikalpa (mental thought constructs and imputations) are the building blocks of asmita (I-Amness or ideation), so too does asmita hold together vikalpa and reinforce it. In addition samyoga (conflation as a false identification) depends upon it. The same goes for pramana and viparyaya vrtta, once they a world view is formulated in terms of self and other, in terms of "I/it" object relations, a house or prison (citta-vrtti) for a separate self is constructed. This is untrue only in one situation; e.g., when the world view imputes a world of no separate self (anatman or sunyata) or put in another way a universal Self where where atman and brahman are one). As has been pointed out just the belief in such a world view (correct pramana) is no guarantee of its realization, discovery, or direct experience which is effected in the Yoga Sutras as the result of experiential practices which augment our natural alignment, self coherence, resonance, and union in All Our Relations.

Of course Patanjali does not talk about the kleshas (especially asmita) or the citta-vrtti as some fairy tale or abstract concept. Quite the opposite. Kleshas show up and are operational all the time all over the planet in most people as an obstruction/repression of the innate intelligent evolutionary power which desires to come out but is repressed. That’s what is very admirable about Sri Patanjali and Buddha, as there is no pretension or wishful ivory tower thinking which skirts the actual situations, rather he recognizes suffering as problem areas and cuts it, so that one can be filled with consciousness and life! An awakened being can see clear examples on how asmita shows up in the world, through man's countless wars, violence, oppression, greed, abuse, hatred, prejudice, thievery, lies, and destruction which perpetuates suffering for all beings. The converse is true; i.e., that when the obscurations created by the kleshas are attenuated and dissolved -- when the false compensatory self that appears separate from the all is seen as a delusion -- empty in itself, then the HeartMind will open -- Great Compassion will manifest spontaneously and naturally and in the end the brightness of the implicate intelligent evolutionary evolutionary creative force will be recognized by all human beings, honored, respected, and revered as reverence for all life. For more on this topic see the discussion under pramana (I.7). vikalpa (I.9), and further below on samyoga (limited and false identification),

Asmita is the False Self, but is there a True Self?

The intellectual inquiry into the true nature of "self" consumes numerous volumes in Hindu and Buddhist literature. Classically such an inquiry is relegated to the realm of jnana yoga, academia, and/or monastic institutions, not being a practice of the raj yoga taught by Sri Patanjali. However, since we are discussing asmita as a false identification, let it be said that any "identification" that is separate/independent from any other object becomes limited, fragmented, and dualistic. When pursuing truth the yogi needs to put aside any bias or limited constricted views.

"Self" or non-self" (atman or anatman) has for too long been a false matter of contention between Buddhism and Hinduism. Such contention is based on a misunderstanding and over elaborations between these two schools. Albeit the Hindu tends toward eternalism (narcissism) while the Buddhist may err toward nihilism, Sri Patanjali solves this apparent misunderstanding in III.3 defining samadhi as swarupa-sunyam. Although there are many words that can be used to split hairs on this subject, the most direct approach is to understand that Patanjali's definition of samadhi (in III.3) brings forward a definition of "true self" that corresponds directly with the Buddhist conception of Buddhanature (Tathagatagarbha). Patanjali does not postulate an independent nor substantial "self" (atma) that is limited only to its form, yet the form contains a universal essentiality (it is empty of an independent self).

Hinduism generally does not impute a separate self or soul, albeit like other religions, there is a tendency for overly objectified adherents to over objectify and reify the deities and take the literature literally, when it is intended as an analogy or allegory. Here, one must distinguish between provisional teachings and definitive. For example, in tantra, one first visualizes deities, chakras, mandalas, channels, colors, and other objectified "phenomena", then one enters into and is absorbed by the mandala, but later all that is to be dissolved in completion stage. So too in Yoga Sutras, samyama, one practices dharana (concentration) as a limitation of the conscious field, but then dissolves into the object after dissolving into the hologram, experiencing the object of concentration non-dually as-it-is in its suchness (tahata). The practices are all mere preparation; and they all include form up until the their completion

Such misunderstandings between preliminary/provisional teachings and definitive/complete teachings occur in all religions. The difficulty is enhanced on both sides by misunderstanding of the word swarupa. Etymologically, swa means "self" or "own", while rupa means "form". Literally then swarupa is "one's own form". Is this substantial and independent? Not according to Patanjali in III.3, yet swarupa truly exists in the sense of its fluidity, natural openness, and non-substantiality (sunya) -- by virtue of its universality. It is the empty essence (void of a separate self) of all phenomena including "self". Buddhists can also be said to have a dichotomous way of defining swarupa. Although Buddhism is also heterogeneous, it can be said in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras that the Buddha addresses the "essential intrinsic being" (as svabhava) or even "life-essence" (jīvaka) of each person. This essential being as none other than the Universal timeless Buddha in his formless state as the potential Buddha residing in all -- as the Buddha body --Dharmakaya understood to be radiantly luminous, all compassionate, and indestructible as a diamond, natural, unconditioned, original unborn, primordial, all-creating wisdom mind.

Buddhanature is the primordial timeless universal body of the Buddha. As one becomes a fully realized Buddha, this innate seed fructifies. In tantra this is the process of the harmonization and unionization of the three bodies; i.e., the dharmakaya (truth body), sambhogakaya (pain free energy body), and the nirmanakaya (emanation body) of a living Buddha. the latter two bodies are form (rupa) bodies while the Dharmakaya is empty of form (sunyata), yet has qualities attributed to it.

These are some names given to the ultimate most sublime universal all pervading Buddha:

~ Chanting the Names of Manjusri (Manjusrī-nama-sangīti)

Buddha's basic teaching of non-self (anatma) really addresses the false/separate "self" (asmita) or misidentification as being apart (avidya) from the the timeless hologram. The Buddhist teaching in the Tathagatagarbha (Buddha embryo) sutras provide the basis of the universal Buddhanature -- Buddha-essence -- teachings where this immutable, and universal Buddha essence as the true self nature of the Buddha is purported to be the ground of all beings and things (true nature of phenomena). The phenomena or form (covering) is ever changing, but its ground of being/essence or locus is not impermanent.

In the Ghanavyuha Sutra (as quoted by Longchenpa)

"... the ultimate universal ground also has always been with the Buddha-Essence (Tathagatagarbha), and this essence in terms of the universal ground has been taught by the Tathagata. The fools who do not know it, because of their habits, see even the universal ground as (having) various happiness and suffering and actions and emotional defilements. Its nature is pure and immaculate, its qualities are as wishing-jewels; there are neither changes nor cessations. Whoever realizes it attains Liberation."

~ Thondup Rinpoche, Tulku (1989). "Buddha Mind". Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion: p.218

To summarize, atman is inseparable from Brahman, just as rupa and sunyata are inseparable, just as relative and absolute truths are inseparable, shiva/shakti, differentiated and undifferentiated reality, yab/yum, crown/root, etc., are inseparable and non-dual. They are united in the middle channel free from extremes. If further interested, study the debate in Buddhism between the Yogacara school and standard Prasangika Madhyamaka schools, between Rangtong and Shentong, and between Jonangpa and Gelugpa (Jonang and Geluk) for starters.

"Rangtong and Shentong Madhyamika philosophies have no differences in realising as 'Shunyata', all phenomena that we experience on a relative level. They have no differences also, in reaching the meditative state where all extremes (ideas) completely dissolve. Their difference lies in the words they use to describe the Dharmata. Shentong describes the Dharmata, the mind of Buddha, as 'ultimately real'; while Rangtong philosophers fear that if it is described that way, people might understand it as the concept of 'soul' or 'Atma'. The Shentong philosopher believes that there is a more serious possibility of misunderstanding in describing the Enlightened State as 'unreal' and 'void'. Kongtrul finds the Rangtong way of presentation the best to dissolve concepts and the Shentong way the best to describe the experience."


How Does Asmita Show up in Meditation?

For example, I am sitting. I notice the room and the body sitting, and my body and the wall, the window, I wonder about the safety of my car, my job, my wife, my stocks, my status, my boss, my dog ... and so forth. I possess objects of thoughts and become attached to pleasant memories and try to grasp hold of them or run away from unpleasant thoughts that reflect negatively upon my status or sense of importance.  All these, more or less can occur when hindered with asmita klesha – that is until we apply the remedy (meditation). Just an example. Asmita is ego *self* the observer in dualistic limited false identifications. Even if we observe the observer, we still are locked in a dualistic\ world (citta-vrtti).

"We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception."

HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Here HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche is referring to recognition or awareness that the process of ordinary perception is ordinarily colored, limited, and dominated by the field of what we think we are perceiving. Indeed our tilt, bias, "perspective", way of seeing, determines "what" we see normally. If we take note of that situation then the first recognition of viveka occurs, and hence with that recognition of the limitation placed upon the field of consciousness (citta-vrtti) by the ordinary mind can cease holding the mind captive, hence liberating consciousness compensate for the vantage point of the seer.

We become aware of the power of primordial pure awareness, which is not dependent upon the intellect (buddhi) or ego (separate self) - we become aware of the innate effortless power of pure transpersonal awareness itself. We start cultivating openness to that awareness through practice so that once we become more conscious of it -- recognize it more often. Then we welcome that into our daily life increasingly. Being able to access that in our daily life more often, then the meditation sittings begin and end at with more ease and continuity providing an opportunity to go deeper faster. The practice empties the mind of thought forms (vikalpa) and dualistic tendencies as we become more closely aligned with our true transpersonal and transcognitive nature (swarupa-sunyam).

Instead of having the citta-vrtti define self and other, this awareness of the process of awareness allows us to free the seer from isolated and fragmented self created prisons of the mind. That is why avidya is called a prison, while pure awareness (cit) is likened to mukti, liberation. Does the object of our perception truly exist as something separate from the seer or from other objects? No, not from the vantage point of relative truth where all things are known as interconnected -- in context of the whole having no independent existence apart from that ongoing intelligent dynamic.

Remedies for asmita klesha thus include the cultivation of humbleness, aparigraha, ahimsa, satya, asteya, swadhyaya, tapas, isvara pranidhana, dhyana (meditation), self luminous non-dual and transpersonal realization (asamprajnata realization), citta-prasadanam (I.33), the implementation of true equanimity, compassion, and loving kindness. When we approach the truth of our real situation, then the identification with the transpersonal, eternal, and universal non-dual vision has taken root and the organism has attuned itself to the Greater Self Integrity which is eternal, universal, imperishable and self effulgent. THAT of course is the ultimate remedy to keep in mind.

Swami Venkatesananda translates II. 6 as:

The particular aspect of ignorance called asmita (ego delusion) is the result of the more specific process of confusing the inherently transpersonal and eternal powers and processes of consciousness with that of individual intellectualization or cognition which then results in false or faulty identification with fragmented existence -- a sense of a separate "I" or ego.

See the last sutra of the yoga sutras (Pada IV Sutra 34) for a further elaboration of asmita. Following, Patanjali describes the last three kleshas of raga (attraction), dvesa (repulsion), and abhinivesah (fear of death) as all emanating from a primary ignorance/obscuration. What is this that we are ignoring -- Reality as-it-is - our true self nature (swarupa).

Power and Control Freaks

Similarly we have all met people who are insecure, but rather than show it for fear of establishing their vulnerability, they are out to establish their control and rule. Because of fear and a lack of internal order, they strive to establish their control over other people, situations, organizations, or events. Some will admit to their selfishness, but others may be feign to admit it, so they will often take on an altruistic mask/pretense. Power freaks are known to use any deception they can conjure in order to protect their egoic identity which is really an effort of the ego to conform to perverse demands of the superego, conscience, or other indicators of lack -- diminished sense of self worth. Tee control freak feels secure when they are in full control, which often means that the other is demeaned, stripped of their own authority, or power. Taken to the extreme such is sociopathic, while social behavior is merely a feigned necessity in order to obtain the ulterior object.

That will-for-power is similar to greed, as it is the compensation of an inner lack through the perverse mechanism of acquisition of the ever elusive "more"). also it is similar to competition (the need to be better or beat other people), similar to ,jealousy, rivalry, envy, and other kleshas based on lack of self worth, lack of purpose, or meaning in life. All these ancillary afflictions (kleshas) remain as distractions and obstacles to awakening -- an awakening where the false identification of a separate self (ego) is surrendered

Asmita as a Special Case of Pride where a false sense of meaning acts as a substitute for True Self Worth

The English word, pride, is not an accurate translation of what is meant by asmita, because the English word, pride, is not defined within a generally accepted coherent cosmology. That incoherence exists for many reasons (pro or con, take your pick) but which will not be the scope of this discussion. It is helpful to discern the difference between prideful identification with symbols, objects, status, power, and other "objects" such as occurs in racism, bigotry, nationalism, sexism, xenophobia, ethnocentricity, anthropomorphism, religionism, ideology, tribalism, chauvinism, and the myriad other afflictions of provincialism where the egoic mindset identifies strongly with who they think they are within a self limiting framework, either self contrived or contrived and defined by others. If one believes that one's situation within these self imposed boundaries of limited belief systems are superior, good, safe, needed, or absolutely necessary, then such prideful associations will serve as the glue of one's own prison (warden, guard, prison, and prisoner) all in one. In that way asmita lies at the core of symbolic, self gratuitous, and vicarious neurotic living where true satiation and fulfillment is denied because ones true purpose and meaning in life is denied, because one's true self nature remains ignored, hidden, repressed, suppressed, and denied. In that way institutions are established in order to uphold the status quo and oppose change which are seen as threats to the fearful owners, control freaks, invested interests, and power mongers who are so attached. Bullshit philosophies are fabricated in order to justify and praise these institutions of slavery, exploitations, and abuse, while at the same time marginalizing those who would upset the apple cart. That karmic activity based on asmita and avidya, albeit hidden through delusion and bullshit ideological philosophical deceit, has severe negative karmic consequences. Even more negative are activities of group and mass delusion and pride.

Spiritual (Vajra) Pride as Self Confidence, Spiritual Alignment, and Virtue

There is another usage of the word, which is commonly conflated with egoic pride", but which has a very different cause. Rather, it comes from is a deep sense of prajna or jnana,not dependent on any external thought construct or thing. It also has a healing effect, because it is not based on ego ownership or association, rather, it is a transpersonal/non-dual identity. It is one's ultimate buddhanature being expressed and given a voice.

When someone feels good about what they are doing, when they are motivated by compassion, love, kindness, sympathetic joy, and selfless service, rather than neurotic craving, envy, rivalry, comparative advantage, domination over others, competition, or superiority in need of of comparative worth, then a deep feeling of well being arises as from residing in the ground of all-being -- in a vajra-space of non-neurotic certainty of beingness. This is a very healthy state of mind, being nourished from a deep feeling of connectedness with all beings and things. In fact one is aligned with primordial space, timeless evolutions, and its natural momentum. Identifying "oneself" with this momentum is not a substitute/ersatz pride, but what can be called vajra pride, which is nothing more than a transpersonal sense of well being and unshakeable confidence born out of vajra wisdom and vajra compassion. This transpersonal identification is associated with a profound sense of interdependence/interconnectedness with a boundless, limitless, and timeless universal all pervading transpersonal identity, not the egoic (false) self, which by definition is alone, aloof, conceited, separate, deluded, and isolated. Both the motive/momentum and the fruit/result of such associations differ. In the former, activity is based on one's true self-nature (swarupa-sunya), hence, an alignment with the non-dual, unfabricated, natural, and intelligent universal evolutionary momentum/force supports it, while the latter activity is based on its denial and obfuscation -- on dualistic objects and a separate observer, which is in flux.

This confidence and identity has no object, is not conceptually or belief system based, and it is not constructed/fabricated by the intellect. Being vajra-pride it comes from the samadhi where the realization of the inseparability of the formless and form realms, the undifferentiated and differentiated, absolute and relative, crown and root, are synchronized as the co-arising unity of the three kayas -- the unshakeable vajrakaya.

There are many tantric practices which provide the yogi familiarity and functionality in this state. By visualizing self as a sambhogakaya (energy body-form), one enters the purified realm of the mandala, where all beings are also deities, and the gates of all three kayas are imprinted in vajralike non-dual seals.

“Wisdom is inherent in mind until the power of wisdom-mind is completely opened. Through believing in self-born wisdom-deity, one must try to transform all immeasurable, ordinary, habitual, samsaric phenomena and perceive wisdom-deity-field. Perceiving is deity, and the perceiver is sunyata (emptiness).”

~ White Sail, Yab Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

The distinction is between neurotic/samsaric or egoic (fragmented ordinary) pride on one hand, and on the other hand where non-dual/spiritual or vajra pride on the other hand (where a sense of transpersonal and non-dual identification in true self worth and meaning manifesting as a result by participating in a deeply meaningful timeless dimension of being, and if lucky, a continuous way of life can be distinguished. This latter identification is not dependent upon how others think of oneself, nor is it derived conceptually/intellectually. It is not dependent upon a reflection upon one's comparative actions, "like I did good or right". A distinction, thus, is made between vicarious or subliminal/neurotic thoughts, from direct yogic experience that is beyond conceptual elaboration where one participates in an intimate evolutionary moves one from their core -- as it flows through one's body, speech, and mind as an intimate alliance with primordial consciousness, its original purpose, and evolutionary expression. This is a state that is deeply experiential, uncontrived, and aware, while totally inconceivable. As spiritual/vajra pride, one does not impute an identification as or with a separate/independent observer (ego). Rather, the identification is with the innate universal wisdom-mind (the param purusa, Maheshvara (the teacher of all teachers), or one's own Buddhanature, which resides in all sentient beings, or with its non-dual intermediary state -- the energy body or sambhogakaya blissful body form. One's identification is universally objectless. This links the practitioner directly with the boundless, unlimited, and timeless "all-good" (Siva or Samantabhadra). Hence, it is premised on no thing or isolated object (mental or external phenomena). Vajra pride is the unshakeable confidence and knowledge based on the underlying vajra space that reflects as the innate wisdom of compassion, conviction of a transpersonal universal kinship, and the reality of interdependence, not on separateness or ownership (asmita as the egoic mindset). Spiritual pride rightly applied is certain antidote for neurotic pride and asmita.

Vajra pride comes from vajra space. In its essential nature, it is objectless and hence the result of non-dual realization. It harnesses the energy of pure primordial awareness inseparable from form. Being primordial, uncaused, and unborn it is unstoppable, irrepressible, and cannot be excluded, nor does it ever need inclusion. Vajra pride conquers all insecurities, doubt, needs for comparative status, power, jealousy, or self-esteem. Such is its power when invoked. Vajra pride occurring in impenetrable vajra space has no isolated referent, no solid ground, except in the all encompassing vajra-like aspect of the ever-changing boundless and unlimited dimensions of samadhi-time/samadhi-space. The true self is empty of self. That formless self is universal and omnipresent. It is known everywhere as imperishable, and hence vajralike, yet carefully discerned as embedded in differentiated consciousness as undifferentiated consciousness. It is self effulgent as-it-is -- but being all pervading it is beyond subtle -- rarefied to the extreme. There is no place where it is not, hence it is impenetrable, all pervading, adamantine, and timeless. The primordial undifferentiated consciousness (pure objectless/formless awareness or light) is eternally/constantly NOW and HERE, ever present, and always has been/will be, in NOW awareness NOW. That Adamantine vajra NOW is all we ever have. From that vajra-space, objectless pure vajra pride arises.

Dharma thus (as the implicate law and order of the universe) is not external, fabricated, manmade, or artificial, nor is the transpersonal spiritual identification. One does not stand apart from it, rather one is immersed in it and acts in harmony, in alliance, and in a resultant deeply heart felt sense of wholeness and completeness. It's lack can not be substituted by manmade laws or artificially created order (which are compensations at the best, while mostly acting as serious distractions. When one acts in this way, one does not feel or evidence any sense of lack, no lack of self esteem issues arise, and no self doubt, fear, and lack of confidence or certainty. All lack of self worth issues arise from the separation of self from this primary direct alliance/connection with Self which is a sense of true transpersonal interdependence which is experienced in action as the result of practice (be it karma yoga, bhakti yoga, hatha yoga, raj yoga, art, healing, etc.). The participant knows it when they are touched by it. It's only requirement is to go beyond normal dualistic conceptual mindsets and allow oneself to drop their preconceptions and self limitations of "self' and "other". Neuroses drop away in that liberated sphere beyond ordinary conceptual processes (nirvikalpa) -- beyond cognitive I/it models (asamprajnata) such as contrived dualistic mind frames. In tantric yoga it is called, spiritual pride (which is not at all religious pride). Spiritual pride in tantric yoga does not connote the superiority of the ego over anyone else, rather it is the result stemming from a stance of inner confidence, fearlessness, and stability that stems from effective practice and the resulting groundedness, not from one's position or status based upon manmade external comparative systems (society, religion, class, business, competition sports, war, and the like) nor through intellectual/conceptual processes.

The degree of vajra-pride that manifests in the yogi's life increases proportional to the degree of intensity of one's spiritual aspiration and purified karma. This is effected by the yogi's ability to focus intent, awareness, and energy effectively in the timeless present in recognition of the interconnected/interdependent impartial/unbiased great integrity.

That recognition affords instant presence and being. This focused aspiration usually becomes stabilized and deepened in meditative stages over many years of authentic spiritual self discipline (yoga sadhana). Such spiritual aspiration is fed by true inspiration and acts as an effective antidote to ordinary neurotic craving and tendencies of egoic pride (asmita). In vajra pride one no longer identifies with the ego (as a separate self), but identifies as a transpersonal fearless and dedicated active agency, and hence emanation of fearless non-neurotic universal love and compassion-- a part of (not apart from) the universal intelligent evolutionary power of primordial consciousness. For the dualistic/samsaric mindset it is too easy to identify the ego with highfalutin gods and goddesses. So it is emphasized that vajra pride is not an egoic identification within the I/it dualistic framework of separate self (ego), rather it is the opposite of that. This fear-freed confidence (vajra pride) defeats all doubts and spontaneously arises naturally, being totally free from contrivance or pretensions. In tantra it is the result of a spiritual alliance/alignment between earth and sky, nature and spirit, muladhara and sahasrara chakras, through realizing the heart of the middle way (sushumna nadi),

"Self-luminous unchanging insight
Is described as unborn dharmakaya.
Unceasing self-born wisdom
Is described as the multiplicity of nirmanakaya.

These two unified in coemergence
Are described as the sambhogakaya.
These three free from origin
Are described as the svabhavikakaya.

All these, beyond conditions
Are described as the mahasukhakaya.
These are the five ultimate kayas.
Does this gladden your minds, heart friends?

Thus Marpa sang and described how the five kayas function.

Sri Bhadra said, "Now please describe the view, meditation. action, and fruition."

So Marpa sang this song:

Please listen without your minds wandering.
Though I am not skilled in composing songs,
This is the way to understand the true oral instructions.
Keep this in mind and ponder it.
The three worlds are primordially pure.
Ultimately, there is nothing more to understand.
Not negation, unceasing continuity,
Unchanging—such is the view.

The innate essence is naturally luminous.
Unconditioned, meditation is unceasing.
Not negation, beyond losing and gaining,
Without desire or attachment—such is the meditation.

Arising from the natural occurrence of various coincidences,
The play of illusion is unobstructed.
Not negation,
Things are unpredictable, abrupt—such is the action.

Mind shines as bodhicitta.
There is no attainment of the three kayas of buddha.
Not negation, beyond hope and fear,
Without ground or root—such is the fruition."

From the "Life of Marpa"

As Isvara is the inner master, and the guru of all gurus, so too does the realization of our buddhanature occur as vajra-pride in samadhi (swarupa-sunyam), the end of suffering. Find the inner teacher and abide there, increasingly. That is a meditation practice, which can acclimate/familiarize the yogi with this transpersonal/non-dual state.

Spiritual bliss (ananda) is the result of non-separation -- the union of body, mind, and spirit. That union is expressed spontaneously as blissful love and joy. As such it is a reflection of the Great Integrity of Being, our natural state. Such a natural reflection is uncontrived virtue. It is in this way that our true nature (Buddhanature) shines through as innate goodness. Precisely because we often do not feel good about oneself, we then crave to be like someone else,l crave things, status, praise, support affection, or fear intimidation and hate those who do not flatter, cajole, or share our idea of self identity. In the modern ear especially human beings have had their innate sense of feeling good ripped off. We all are born with inner/intuitive wisdom and great potential (isvara or buddhanature), but modern humans have been negatively conditioned and suppressed/repressed to not recognize such. In this sense functional yoga practice acts as a means to remediate this repressive contraction by opening up the closed down channels (nadis) and let the energy (prana) flow so that consciousness can irrigate the body here on the planet in this very lifetime. We have to learn to reclaim our inner wisdom where the channels of communications have been closed shut. In yoga we work with the emotions, the energy body, and the physical body as a whole. Being in harmony with primordial consciousness not only makes living more creative, but allows for efficient translation into the bodiless dimension, which is no where else but here and now. Yoga thus works on the energy body through clearing obstructions in the energy body, nadis, and chakras as well as the physical and mental bodies. When we are again able to FEEL deeply these good connections here and now, then neurotic compensatory substitutions will no longer be sought such as desires for increased self worth, self esteem, self image, power over others, comparative worth, or other issues of due to the lack of feeling good about ourselves.

On Bliss and Pride by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

On the level of tantra, the mahamudra level, pleasure does not take place through the pores of your skin, but pleasure takes place on your very flesh without skin. You become the bliss rather than enjoying the bliss. You are the embodiment of bliss, and this contains a quality of your being very powerful. You have conquered pleasure and pleasure is yours. One doesn't even have to go so far as to try to enjoy pleasure, but pleasure becomes self-existing bliss. In this way every experience that might occur in our life -- communication, visual experience, auditory experience, consciousness: anything that we relate to -- becomes completely workable, highly workable. In fact, even the notion of workability does not apply. It's yours. It is you, in fact. So things become very immediate.

This is what is often called vajra pride, indestructible pride. Pride in this case is not arrogance, but is non-dualistically self-contained. You are not threatened by your projections or projectors, but you are there, and at the same time, everything around you is you and yours.

From "Mahamudra," in ILLUSION'S GAME: The Life and Teaching of Naropa by the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Page 121.

For example, a mother taking care of her children out of pure unconditional love from her natural heart core acting as the natural channel for universal love also provides a sense of meaning beyond any self-worth issues. Her transpersonal compassion reflects the vajra space. Likewise a father, who acts for the happiness of his family, not from a mindset dictated by forces of external duty, self image, status, guilt, or threat of punishment, but rather from a deeply felt sense of genuine transpersonal love in the present without attachment, does not need to justify or defend his image to others or society in order to feel good about himself. The vajra guru acts similarly for the benefit of ALL beings. Likewise for sisters, brothers, cooks, doctors, tailors, farmers, neighbors, and all others, meaning is found in selfless service -- service as the opportunity to love others intelligently. By intelligent and expedient service, one does not serve others best by acting as their doormat. Many examples abound such as in the many activities of abiding in ecstatic samadhi, music, dance, selfless love, joy in giving, healing, selfless service, creation, or ecstatic living, which as a result produce a deep experiential feeling of completion, fulfillment, spiritual contentment and union (in authentic santosha).

So to reiterate, vajra pride has these aspects. It establishes real/vajra confidence and conviction due to the establishment of wisdom wrought from direct spiritual experience (direct experiential knowledge). That is, knowledge wisdom, which is gleaned from self observation of one's own intimate transpersonal interdependent spiritual with all space and all mind. Vajra pride, like vajra anger, is not born from ignorance nor is its expression connected with suffering (duhkha). Rather one identifies with a configuration vehicle made out of infinite compassion and timeless wisdom, the intermediary bridge between undifferentiated pure awareness and differentiated ever-changing nowness. Free from the gravity of samsara, ignorance, and suffering the yogi is filled with the absolute confidence, strength, freedom, and light of the light body, vajra body, energy body, or bliss body (sambhogakaya). Such a yogi is not subject to death or suffering. Establishing an effective connection, a stabilized identification is preliminary to its selfless and spontaneous expression.

Just as vajra pride is selfless, similarly compassionate fierceness in selfless service (so called fierce compassion) manifests spontaneously and naturally when the bonds of ignorance (avidya), asmita (egoic mindsets), raga, dvesa, and all the other obstructions are released. Here vidya (as clear vision), truth, pure virtue, boundless compassion, ahimsa, and justice are expressed spontaneously.

This is why mechanisms that reinforce the prisons of false or delusional mentation (the egoic mindset) are known to be essential in manipulating the majority of people to serve the minority of tyrants, dictators, rulers, and authority figures. First the dictators (as mind manipulators) must dumb down the majority as to their true self nature, meaning, and purpose in life. Then, when ordinary humans have become confused by having their inner confidence, authority, and power ripped off and hijacked, it is far easier to convince these broken men that their own self worth is intimately involved in being of service or value to their masters. That is the realm where status, external authority, power, and symbols of power replace/substitute for the inner lack. The greater the inner rip off, the greater one's will for power and control becomes or in extreme cases, extreme apathy, complacency, indifference, numbness, intimidation, and depression settles in. In either case true self worth in a meaningful and purposeful life has become perverted and compromised. In the modern era this vicarious substitution is reinforced through mechanisms of propaganda; story telling; TV; support groups; vicarious spectator sports, nationalistic, religious, and regional pride; organized bigoted hate groups; and similar perversions which are designed to upgrade one's own self esteem by demonizing or hating "others". Radio or any other "media outlets", group associations, identifications, or departmental organizational meetings where people are told daily "who" they are, how to think, and what is expected from them, conspire to turn the human being into a mechanized unfeeling robot devoid of their own feelings, critical thought processes, and ability to act intuitively and spontaneously. Rather such attempts to subordinate the inner wisdom and teacher serves as the major mechanisms of suppression/repression to serve the ulterior motives and purpose of puppet masters, paranoiacs, megalomaniacs, and other insecure control freaks who will never have enough security or be free from fear, doubt and guilt until they confront their delusionary mechanisms (egoic self deceit).

So it is very wise not to identify as a separate self, nor identify "others" within a dualistic i/it context. As a practice one identifies with the true nature of one's mind which is universal and resides within all. That identification is vajra pride while one's vision of that recognition which resides within all sentient beings is pure vision (vidya). In that sense vajra pride and pure vision can be a transformational practices as well as a spontaneous result of experiencing one's true non-dual nature of mind (swarupa-sunyam), which destroys avidya and the kleshas.

"A ripened continuous insight gives us the steadiness and courage of a lion’s gaze. Padmasambhava said that when a stick is thrown to a lion, the lion gazes steadily at the source, the thrower. A dog’s gaze follows the object, the stick. Similarly, our source of experience is our own mind. The stick is only the phenomena. We need to look at our mind, the source of the emotion. An emotion like anger represents the stick. The source hurling that emotion is our mind. It is mind that projects. A wise and clear mind experiences something far more luminous and transparent. Conduct is caring. Such dynamic inner and outer relationship informs and purifies our vision. Dzogchen [as practice] turns our gaze inward toward the source of experience, which is mind. Our own direct irrefutable experience is “certainty wisdom.” Buddhists also call this vajra pride. Vajra pride is not ego mind, but an indestructible diamond luminous wisdom view (vajra). Pristine mind is our lion’s gaze. This view is dzogchen [the Great All Encompassing Integral Expanse]."

Joan Kaye from the Introduction to "The Lion's Gaze: A Commentary on the Tsig Sum Nedek" by Khenpo Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal. Also see Vajra Anger and Vajra Passion/Compassion and love

Blame, Judgment, Denunciation, and Condemnation as Moral Pride: Making the I (ego) right, by making the "other" wrong (knowing better)

As long as we identify with the false self (sarupyam as in I.4) then that egoic self identification will always suffer from self esteem issues, insecurity, lack of knowledge and satisfying meaning in life, a need for inflated images of self pride/identity, status, defensive self image issues, a lack of true self worth and self confidence, and desire for comparative advantage, privilege, control, and power over others. Knowing "better", by deluding oneself that one possesses superior knowledge in comparison to others, blaming others, finding fault in others, superior status, position, power, or control over others is merely one of many permutations of pride (asmita) or its need due being cut off from the evolutionary moment. Such are merely futile attempts to compensate for an already low sense of "Self", spiritual Self alienation, or disconnect. These are manifestations of asmita-klesha and also reinforce such. Indeed all pride issues are the result of a need to fill the vacuum left by the great dualistic split/rend from the innate intelligent evolutionary power and hence, Primordial Conscious -- the Self. In that sense even greed is the result of a feeling of that lack as an attempt to fill that hole. So too all the other kleshas. Asmita combines with dvesa and raga kleshas to form myriad variants such as censure, bigotry, race hatred, xenophobia, transgenerational and institutionalized vengeance, prejudice, avarice, over consumption, acquisitiveness, addiction, fear, and so forth.

In addition claiming superior knowledge or "knowing better" one attempts to control or dominate the conversation and other people because of neurotic needs. For example the many arguments about politics, religion, or whatever are really about who is right, good, or better, rather than the subject that is being argued. Asmita combined with dvesa (aversion) are the driving forces that feed jealousy and competition.

"It is said that one who has studied with the mistaken attachment to their welfare in this life alone will look down on those who have not studied as much as they have, rejecting the other persons, ignoring them, even behaving hurtfully toward them. Their knowledge has given them license to belittle others, to find fault with others but never with themselves. These kinds of attitudes are simply due to the person's own sense of insecurity and inferiority, which causes them to disparage others, whether their knowledge may be greater or less than their own. Someone like this will sow seeds of discord and feel that they must try to get people to side with them, fearful that others will not support their opinions."

From, PARTING FROM THE FOUR ATTACHMENTS, Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen's Song of Experience on Mind Training and the View, by Chogye Trichen Rinpoche

The denunciation of others is a form of mental hatred, violence, and meanness based on asmita and avidya kleshas and directed toward hurting others while protecting/defending the ego. Ordinary people (non-yogis) will rarely admit to being mean, for doing so, they would have to come down off their self appointed superior perch and self righteousness. In other words, it would damage their already low sense of self esteem. Hence, they miss the opportunity to learn and evolve spiritually until they see the nature of their suffering. The pathetic attempt of the ego to demonstrated that it knows better or knows more than another is yet another subterfuge, where owning "knowledge" is nothing more than a futile attempt to inflate and/or replace an already inane, meaningless, and fragmented confused life. Rather, it is not possible to put the universe in one's pocket or locked safe, let alone primordial time and all pervading space. Such frenzied attempts only feed the neurosis.

Unethical and Non-virtuous Behavior (non virtue) Comes from Ego Sense

Egoic identity being a false identification always carries with it a sense of insecurity and need to justify and elevate oneself (ego). One way to compensate from this insecure state, is to feel superior, better, or identify with being at a comparative advantage over some one else who is designated as worse, less worthy, inferior, wrong, unethical, or bad. Hence the wounded ego cultivates a mask of self deceit which seeks to place itself in a moral superior position over others. The ego hence is always seeking out evil, the devil, or some one to blame who one opposes, inferring that opposing evil or injustice, automatically makes the ego good and just.

Yoga, to be sure, is not based on an ethical or unethical system. One's spiritual purpose and ultimate reward does not come how well one obeys dictates of right behavior in terms of trust, faith, blind servitude, or fear of punishment. Punishment is not meted out because of disobedience or lack of faith/belief. Rather, in yoga, it is the mind which dictates right behavior and right livelihood or not depending on its clarity, purity, or true reflective virtue. So in that sense a corrupted and fragmented mindset based on error, obfuscation, and delusion is capable of creating bad karmic circumstances, while the mindset free from kleshas is allowed the opportunity to know and align one's mindstream with the primordial consciousness -- to align individual will with universal will and act virtually and virtuously interconnected as one in conscious integrity. That INTEGRITY and VIRTUE in the aligned body, breath, mind, nature, and primordial source is called virtue in so far one reflects that Reality in All Our Relations. If we contemplate upon it, all unethical behavior such as parigraha, asatya, himsa, steya, greed, jealousy, and so forth come from the Great Rend from primordial consciousness -- from our interconnectedness (yoga) or union with the Great Universal Unlimited in All Our Relations. Although the split is based on an error of thought, that error of thought exists as a state of confusion, just as clarity exists in the state of pure unobstructed vision. These are two mindsets are quite discernibly different states of experience.

Tragically many human beings have become repressed, trapped, and boxed in by self limiting concepts to which they cling. When the subject is locked into the belief that "the self" is an independent or separate ego, then the ego can rationalize and justify taking what they want from others, exploiting others, enslaving them, manipulating them, abusing and harming them. One's will does not have to align with universal will, nor with anything else but one's desire (raga). The only thing that holds these egoic driven beings back (driven as they are by klesha and karma) is the fear of getting caught and punished (either here or in the hereafter).

On the other hand other people who have had the transpersonal non-dual selfless experience act out of maitri (blindness), karuna (compassion), upeksha (equanimity), and mudita (being happy that others are happy). They have no need to act unethically or ethically as the question of ethics (as in following external rules) has become mute, because they do not live in the realm of asmita. These true yogis have realized true vision and spontaneously reflect the true nature of mind as pure unobstructed natural virtue -- Here and Now. In short unethical behavior and related criminal activities which manifest as creating harm or suffering to others is based on a psychological, or more so, due to a spiritual, ignorance of who the human being truly is in relationship to cause/creation, the evolutionary power, and primordial beginningless Source. Ignorance of what? Our interdependence and transpersonal non-dual identity. It is a matter of identity, asmita in the former and an Infinite Universal all pervasive Identity in the latter. One can live conflict/schizoid free or in contrast live in harmony, integrity, and community as one big family Inseparable. Vasudeva Kutumbakam! Ohana! In All Our Relations. Let it shine!

Unethical actions are selfish when causing harm (including confusion) to others. Ethical actions are selfless, causing happiness and liberation to others. Neutral actions are often unethical as they are a waste of time where the human being may be helping others or self.


Again when abiding in our natural state the foolish vagaries of ego to not dominate. So again all yogic practices including kriya yoga or astanga yoga help us move into that natural state by deconditioning/deprogramming the ignorance which corrupts the mind into ignoring one's true nature in the unified field, while substituting the false assumption of the egoic mind. (separate self) of fragmented dualistic existence. Stay with the love, the beauty, and expansive light. Recognize it when they are absent, and then practice in order to achieve that shift.


II. 7. Sukhanusayi ragah

Raga (craving) is the anticipation (anusayi) of pleasure (sukha)


We desire happiness [and try to own it]


Dualistic attraction (raga) arises because the mind assigns the object as if its attainment were capable of bringing forth pleasure or happiness.


Raga (desire) occurs when the mind associates or imagines pleasure by anticipating through an anticipatory union of possessing an object/objective.


The desire or craving for pleasure is called raga. It arises out of pain/dissatisfaction or displeasure. [It is similar to the desire to escape dissatisfaction or pain (dvesa). It aries out of the rend from unlimited all-awareness)


The affliction of craving, attraction, and yearning (raga) occurs when the mindfield attaches itself to the confused idea that mental pleasure or happiness is external to the all- essence of the mind (absence of primordial presence)


When the mind is attracted to obtaining a potentially pleasurable object or situation, an energetic attraction or craving for it (raga) occurs which obscures true presence of mind.


Craving or "like" (raga) is the affliction of the mindfield that occurs when the mind associates (anusayi) an isolated event (past or future) as pleasurable or happy (sukha).


Yearning is triggered by events or objects that promise pleasure, hence raga arises from a state of discomfort, which in turn seeks fulfillment..


Raga is a desire which is accompanied by attachment (anusayi) to an anticipation of pleasure (sukha).


Hope (raga) is the act of associating the mind with a future event that promises happiness [thus reinforcing the idea of unhappiness in the present].

sukha: here, is meant as ordinary pleasure or enjoyment. Self gratification. A temporary union between an estranged or fragmented consciousness/being (ego) and an object which he/she craves to join/unite.

anusayi: An anticipation or association with a result (in this sutra with happiness/gratification). In "sukhanusayi ragah", anusayi occurs when the path toward the object is conflated with the goal (desire of the object becomes associated with its possession). It occurs when the gratification/pleasure accompanies or is associated with obtaining or possessing an object, event, result, or phenomena, hence an attachment to the entire process is concomitant. The expectation or anticipation becomes exciting and sometimes addictive as much or more than the achievement of the goal. An attachment process that closely accompanies or is associated with some object; a clinging toward; grasping, glomming onto, or dependence upon a goal oriented process. An addiction to an obsessive process or associative dependence. An intertwined addictive identification with a neurotic purpose. The connection process that links the one who is craving with an object of craving. The glue which binds an obsession or addiction. An attachment process which closely accompanies with some object, event, or circumstance. An association, anticipation, or attraction (here promising "pleasure") or fixation constitutes sukhanusayi raga; while a negative attraction or repulsion (promising pain or suffering (duhkha) constitutes dvesa (aversion as in sutra II.8).

raga: A state of craving, attraction toward the gratification of desire, fixation, obsession. An attachment to results, expectation, hope, or like. A belief that the possession of an object/objective in the future will provide fulfillment or pleasure. Raga is the desire by the ego for happiness in objects (mental or physical). By definition it is a state of unhappiness because one is seeking it outside oneself or outside this very moment. Raga arises from a more primary split/estrangement or dissatisfaction, hence it is associated with its opposite (boredom, indifference, indolence, or disinterest)..

Raga is one of the chief kleshas (afflictive impediments to spiritual union). It is a state of craving, yearning, and attraction away from an unsatisfactory or unfulfilling present, toward an object in the future distance, hope, gratification, or fulfillment due to a feeling of lack, absence, or hollow emptiness, which craves to be be filled, gratified, or satisfied. Any attachment/attraction toward an object outside of the present circumstance, any attraction or propulsion away from the Here and Now toward a future that promises fulfillment/union. In yoga raga is the result of the split from primordial vision (avidya) through the ideation process (samsaric attractions) establishing the false identification of an illusory separate independent self (asmita or ego), and then ignorantly attempting to compensate for this disunion via compensatory ersatz cravings. In short, raga is the compensatory and neurotic externalization toward secondary sources of "pleasure", due to the primary split/rend with being Here and Now in harmony with the process of creation, creativity, evolution, and life as natural process that provides pure bliss (ananda), which is the natural union of pure beingness (sat) and pure consciousness (cit) and has no equal. Searching for fulfillment while abandoning this innate union is the source of ignorance and suffering. This unsurpassed bliss is the result of asamprajnata samadhi (non-dual transconceptual transcognitive union), See sutra I.18.

Raga is the self who is craving for happiness, which is imputed by the ideation of the ego; while in fact action motivated by raga-klesha will only cause more unhappiness. raga acts as a liking or preference imputed by the ego, as being positive or good; something that the egoic mind associates as good or desirable in the sense that it is estimated that pleasure or perceived benefit would result. Hence a craving of the egoic mindset which desires to possess (or rather becomes possessed by it) occurs. A propensity toward an ersatz or temporary union (not samadhi). Attachment to results of action; attraction to objects/objectives that promise pleasure (sukha), clinging to pleasure; defining one's purpose as seeking pleasure; or the anticipation of what might appear as pleasurable. A desire toward apprehending an object, its expectation, as well as ordinary hope. Raga thus includes the expenditure of effort toward a yearning, craving, association, propensity, and clinging toward an object of desire, lust, or arousal which draws one out into the dualistic sense world of continuous craving leaving one so immersed in the cycle of temporary satisfaction/dissatisfaction (samsara). Attachment to self and/or objects of desire by the restless mind. The result of separation and spiritual alienation from the true imperishable Self. On a gross level raga combines with asmita or dvesa and manifests as greed, plunder, rape, thievery, predation, power mongering, exploitation , obsessive scarcity consciousness, competitiveness, himsa (violence), asatya (untruth), asteya (dishonesty), over indulgence, over consumption, avarice, jealousy, envy, invidiousness, covetousness, possessiveness, addictive behavior, and so forth.

Raga as need, is based upon a preexisting condition of separation, lack, scarcity, and absence -- the absence of visionary spirit (avidya) and union. Without that connection there remains a sense of incompleteness hence the ego delusion (asmita) of a separate self who craves, desires, or may find satisfaction by loving an external object or "thing" becomes reinforced via raga. Raga is an obscured/afflicted state of mind, where one enters into a craving mindset away from innate happiness or sense of santosha (fulfillment) HERE and NOW.

"Attraction (or mental conditioning or coloring) follows, rests in, and is just another term for, the erroneous evaluation of an object or experience as pleasure. Because of the mental coloring something looks attractive."

Swami Venkatesananda

Commentary: In general people desire happiness and dislike unhappiness, but generally they are unhappy and neurotic, in the sense that they mistake the cause of happiness. If not, there would be no desire/craving in the first place. Hence, craving (raga) is a specific symptom of duhkha masquerading as happiness, masking dissatisfaction (duhkha). It is also a further distraction, hence reinforcing the split of avidya. The cause of duhkha is to mistake the cause of suffering and happiness. That mistake is called avidya (or ignorance). Hence, Patanjali teaches avidya (ignorance) as the root cause of all the kleshas as well as both raga and dvesa (aversion) as suffering (duhkha). Here, ordinary raga is an energetic association/relationship with an anticipation toward the ownership or possession of a future enjoyment of a result or fruit that promises pleasure/gratification (sukha). Combined with asmita, the sense of control over that object whose possession is associated with pleasure, or simply its ownership causes even greater suffering, such as seen in control freaks, security freaks, and manipulators. Attachment simply being a strengthened version of raga. See I.17 and I.18 for another description of this process (vairagya being the remedy). In short, raga as craving only occurs after the spiritual estrangement or split from wholeness. That primary split leaves a hole/gap. The neurotic attempt to compensate, adapt, or fill it is called craving (raga), which promises happiness. However, in yoga (see I.17) only a coarse temporary happiness (ananda) will be found in such pursuits, while in nirbij-samadhi lasting happiness is regained as a result of union without falling back into the state of separateness or estrangement.

Raga is that simple; however, since most people have become spiritually disconnected, while living in dualistic and limited mental spheres *citta-vrtta) to some extent, the following paragraphs are offered. Those who get its simplicity need not read any further, as they already understand how their own mind works. Especially in a society where neurosis, consumerism, and vicarious pleasure are rampant, raga often is insidious -- goes unnoticed and is accepted as the norm.

Raga is a major klesha (hindrance/impediment) only because it impedes or dissuades the sadhak from innate spiritual awakening, while further distracts one from the fulfillment of sacred presence, hence sucking one's spiritual energy and focus. The key word here is anusayi (attachment or obsession toward an ersatz communion of the ego with external events or objects that the mind has associated with pleasure when attained). Such creates a negative vortex, a corrupting tendency, dependency and attachment to a non-present future goal (called raga). Part and parcel with the egoic state of separation caused by ignorance (asmita and avidya) is the anticipated pleasure (sukha) of union with an ersatz object of attraction (raga), i.e. what we deem pleasurable as a compensation for that primal split/disconnect. Hence raga as craving is falsely associated with (anusaya), its fulfillment as pleasure, but craving is not pleasure or fulfillment, rather its opposite. With practice raga, is one of the most easy kleshas to recognize and overcome since it is often very gross. The key is vairagya, release, just let go, and empty the thoughts. Sounds too easy? Hence daily sitting emptiness meditation (dhyana) even if only for a few minutes gives us a taste of true bliss -- non- craving. See more in II.11.

Pleasure or enjoyment are not kleshas in themselves, rather the impediment (klesha) of raga occurs when we expend effort, attention, expectation, and attachment toward obtaining an object of our craving in future time, thus taking us out of the moment and further into egoic (I/it) dualistic attachment dependencies with samsaric phenomena (I/it) dualism, thus forming dualistic tendencies/habits; i.e., looking for happiness in things, the illusion of independent phenomena, objects, or form, rather than recognizing the true nature of our own mind in relationship to the true nature of nature. Raga thus is essentially neurotic. It is due to the primal split from the non-dual and natural identification of being a part of the whole, to the conditioned identification of conceiving "self" apart from the whole. Since the view in samadhi is swarupa-sunyam (III.3), Patanjali declares that such a subject/object dualistic vision is itself an illusion.

In reality there is no separate independent observer (an egoic "I", or asmita identity), but rather it is a fabrication of the conceptual mind. Human beings do not live in a vacuum. In reality, thus there is no separate/independent "object" to grasp at or run away from -- to desire or to hate. But we do have to learn how to relate. Thus, raga is the teacher in the tantric sense -- as how we interact successfully with all our relations. When raga arises as attraction or attachment, it is recognized as such. Through that recognition/awareness raga can be liberate, rather than to be further buried through ignorance, non-recognition, numbness, insensitivity, or denial.

One of the major sources of confusion can be obviated by asking ourselves where happiness is located, i.e., what are we hoping for? It is of course located in the mind in the form of mental assignments/imputations, not in the external object. The egoic mind (I) sees an object and then associates (anusayi) the object with pleasure or happiness. These mental associations when blurred by impure vision (avidya) are incapable of discerning between the mental feeling and the object which triggers it. Thus the object itself is assigned to a category of being desirable or pleasurable. Often what we assign as temporary pleasure or happiness, is just another form of suffering, because it distracts us from our ultimate liberation from suffering; i.e., the eradication of ignorance (avidya). To be sure, in authentic yoga, the goal is not simply happiness, rather it is ultimate liberation. Concomitant as a consequence unconditional happiness is directly experienced.

With a little practice and self awareness, a yogi can learn how to experience and feel true and satisfaction/completeness and great non-dual bliss without being distracted into dualistic samsaric states of mind. In fact that state of great bliss, fulfillment, and union in sacred presence is experienced directly precisely because of the absence of that dualistic primal split/trauma from primordial conscious or Self. This realm is cultivated and made continuous via authentic yogic practices so it becomes natural and spontaneous. True and lasting happiness is truly a state of mind.

In a similar sense an addiction or craving could be established by first experiencing a degree of pleasure as a release of craving, like scratching an itch. It may be a temporary satisfaction/gratification through a temporary union, for example by eating food, releasing sexual tension by engaging in sexual intercourse, jumping in a river on a hot day, etc. That could be true, but one must take into consideration the cause of the desire/hunger in the first place; i.e., is it compensatory and hence neurotic, or is it natural? Vyasa has proposed that a samskara (residual seed) for the repetition of such pleasurable experiences would be unconsciously planted creating a feedback loop as future desires, hence an addiction mechanism is created. That might be true but only to a limited extent. That does not explain the primary cause for the experience of the pleasure as that appears to presume the result before the cause. So in one sense it is true that past pleasurable associations often do call to us. We may have had pleasant experiences as a child with mom and pop by a lake, and hence lakes call to us when the mind associates that pleasurable sensation with similar lakes. Likewise for many addictions and obsessions, conscious or not, wherein a special smell, taste, sight, sound, or event triggers a pleasurable memory (samskaric predisposition), as those mental associations traps the ego in repetitive prisons of the past, dissuading him from the present -- full sacred presence. Regardless, craving is associated with its relief/release (pleasure) Chasing pleasure via neurotic craving is a vicious circle which calls for release and liberation. It feeds the samsaric wheel of suffering.

Ordinarily, hope is like that in that we expect something "good" or desirable as something that we expect, desire, or like in a future time/space or dislike in the present. Hence, through hope and expectation the mind abandons sacred presence. Not only that but with raga, there is an accompanied dvesa (dislike or fear) that the desired goal will fail. One pointed focus in the present as we go about our business makes our "business" perfect. So it depends on the object of our desire and hope being grounded in Now awareness (our source of power and creativity) or not. Ordinarily what we label as hope is a klesha (raga) desire as long as it is selfish desire/expectation. It's often an escape mechanism, and when chronically engaged it serves as neurotic displacement of "real time" space/time knowledge. Hope or desire for other people's happiness, is however selfless desire and rises from a deep connection with timeless source. It is based on transpersonal and nondual wisdom (bodhicitta) and hence it is not a klesha as it is not based on separation, delusion, or ignorance (avidya). It is not based on separate self or isolation/deprivation, but rather it is based on the truth of interdependence/interconnectedness, compassion, empathy, sympathetic joy, and equanimity which discloses the illusion of a separate self. That beauteous vision is empowering, while it connects us to all beings as kin in a magical mutuality of great Being.

Ordinary Hope: Ordinary Hope is often disguised fear, expectation, or desire: It serves as a neurotic compensation for inspiration and fulfillment.

When I say, "I hope so", I really mean, "I fear that the opposite will not happen". I state my desire that the hoped for event will occur in the future, while the opposite feared or disliked event will not occur. If I am in a state of chronic hope, I am not experiencing nor interacting fully in the present. Granted, the mind may create the appearance that it would be painful or fearful to be present, that the present is unacceptable, terrible, shocking, or unbelievably tortuous, but such attitudes are dysfunctional. What one authentically requires in situations of despair is not hope, but rather inspiration-- not escapist tendencies but more scared presence.

Whether one says; "I hope not" as a statement of fear. desire, or hatred, or says "I hope so", also as a statement of fear, desire, or hatred, it is merely a statement of one's preferences and desires. If one is lost in great despair, depression, and has given up all hope, as in all desire to go on with their life, what is needed then is inspiration, being present. By presence we certainly do not mean an existential flat plane uninspiring empty or inane presence or non-presence. Rather we are referring to sacred presence as primordial wisdom. For example being lost at sea for may days, one may give up all hope of surviving and hence stops rowing. But giving up rowing and being open to another possibility may allow the lost sailor a chance to catch a trade current and find a closer land mass in the opposite direction. We could call this non-hope by various names such as abhyasa-vairagyabhyam, asking for guidance, isvara pranidhana, or simply being present.

Hope is often like faith, as a misplaced trust in an external authority, or blind belief. It is just as destructive as it allows the hopeful or faithful to hang on to an unrealistic dream or fancy, rather than to see the truth and deal effectively with the great potentiality inherent in one's real situation.

Repression versus Refraining from Neurotic Desire: Fear of Pleasure/Desire

To be certain, Sri Patanjali is not dismissing enjoyment or pleasure per se. Nor is natural healthy desire being demeaned or demonized. Nor is self abnegation or self punishment being advocated. Rather, what Patanjali has pointed out succinctly is that the specific impulse (here the attractive impulse) that is accompanied by a "clinging" or dependence upon results; i.e., the possession of an object (in goal orientation) is an avoidable impediment/obstruction, obscuration or hindrance (klesha) to awakening if not recognized and dropped (in vairagya). Part of the process of awakening is self recognition, recognizing our activities, mental patterns, unconscious dependencies, addictions, motives, karmic residues, subconscious mental habits (vasana), and thus releasing all residual unconscious compulsions eventually. This is done gradually through yogic practices. Certainly craving is not a happy state of mind, even though the conditioned mindfield often confuses it to be so. Here it is valuable to recognize how the mind assigns its labels of pleasure or pain (preference), however it is not necessary NOR PRACTICAL to obtain an analytical or intellectual understanding of all one's afflictions/attractions. Rather it is simply necessary to drop them (vairagya), while embracing which is truly endearing and fulfilling. It is necessary to rest in the innate unity with sacred presence -- as part and parcel with the transconceptual (nirvikalpa) unitive transpersonal Great Integrity as the culmination of yoga. From that space/time all else will be illumined and explained. In that sense nothing is repressed or renounced, rather one opens up to a boundless embrace.

As will be discussed in the next sutra under dvesa (antipathy), the mechanisms of repression are a combination of fear and attraction. As an escape from feeling pleasure, it has some serious anti-life and anti-social consequences. It should be pointed out that fear of pleasure and happiness as a conditioned and eventually a habitually unconsciously self enforced mechanism where sadism and masochism ( self punishment) for harboring specific thoughts of obtaining pleasure, which have been made taboo by external "authority structures" (a supervising or censoring super ego) is not uncommon in tightly controlled authoritarian societies, be they religious, fascistic, or merely totalitarian. Alongside that, there widely exists a conditioned fear of innate feelings (such as sexuality the enjoyment of nature, the love of other living beings and animals, instinct, natural function, spontaneity, creative thought, new ideas, and one's direct alliance and interdependence with the evolutionary life force and its source. That in turn leads to a mechanical rigidity where wildness, spontaneity, and nature are often feared as well as people or objects which remind us of such things. This repressive negative conditioning process is accomplished by crushing the developing psyche's innate ability for critical and creative thought, because it may contradict their parents, self appointed support groups, church, religion, society, peers, or superego -- their self appointed board of censors or judges. It is also conditioned by abusing and debasing the victim so they become insensitive to their own feelings (by demeaning their feeling sense through imposing pain). Hence authoritarian types often use stern methods, threat of punishment, and often actual physical as well as mental abuse until the victims become inured the authoritative structure and stops rebelling. When the slave stops rebelling, then they become obedient and capable of exploitation. Then they are rewarded for their obedience. To question the authority is viewed as rebellious. A threat to the control and ownership of the would be slave master/puppeteer. Hence children and slaves are taught not to question basic self perpetuating assumptions and illusions which the authority depends upon. The questioning itself is ridiculed, made taboo, or punished. Hence fear, pain, and threat of punishment are created by the ruling elite in order to dissuade inquiry and true pleasure, joy, and fulfillment. What is left in place is neurotic desire for status, security, privilege, and ersatz consumerism which the ruling class doles out to its most productive servants. The propagation of fear, pain, and punishment (terrorism perpetuated by the ruling class) are hence the prerequisites that perpetuate authoritarian and totalitarian tyranny.

Victims are held in check by perpetuating the need for such an illusory structure. "Else wise, chaos and anarchy" are said to ensue. Hence the oppressor paints itself as one's protector; an elitist paternalism becomes instituted. Any act of disobedience to such external authorities is denounced as a dangerous threat to security. Here by security, it is meant, a threat to the citta-vrtti, the delusory mindset. It is condemnable and "deserves" punishment, hatred, threats, or violence (as rebels are characterized as being "bad"). Hence they or anyone else is "bad" if they desire such healthy pleasures, joy, fulfillment, claim such feelings, knowledge, values, alliances, beliefs, or thoughts. Those "others" who indulge in authentic measures of fulfillment thus are labeled as bad, and are condemned, demonized, ridiculed, and often hated, attacked, threatened, and punished. By condemning others as bad, the ego makes oneself appear good. Such fulfils the need for those who have a low sense of self esteem and need to boost up their sense of pride and superiority (because of an already bruised ego). Jealousy and the desire to effect punishment as vengeance (to avenge the wrong) also comes from this same deep sense of misappropriation and disenfranchisement with one's own innate sense of self worth -- one's deepest feelings. Locked up in such a mental prison (bounded by the citta-vrtti) rife with pramana, vikalpa, and delusion, the egoic mindset appears as a "complex" mechanism because delusion, self deceit, fantasy, and denial are actively involved; mechanisms of denial and withdrawal are strengthened; and intuitive wisdom and instinct are actively avoided. Primordial consciousness and its innate evolutionary power has become disrupted and disturbed. If or when anybody challenges or questions such rigidly held conventional "views", then they are often perceived as an enemy attack and are treated accordingly. For more see "The Fear of Living" (below). Also see"Fear of Pleasure" also "PAIN", "AVOIDANCE", "What Appears as Pleasure may be Empty and Neurotic", and "DENIAL".

Above we briefly discussed the difference between natural desire and neurotic desire. Natural desire is like staying warm, breathing, smelling a flower,allowing for undistorted natural function, eating when truly hungry, touching, loving, honesty, open expression, and expressing love deeply. Unnatural or neurotic desire manifests as over eating, sexual exploitation, misogyny, artificial perfumes, drug and alcohol addiction, and a wide variety of pathological activities (see the next sutra on aversion/antipathy). When the natural or mind or body mechanisms become repressed and shut down, so too does the energy body (nadis). The life energy (prana) is not only not reduced, but it is no longer acknowledged, recognized, honored, respected, or present. Then through authentic yoga practices one can open up these blocked pathways, become more sensitive, aware, and more empowered. This process of awakening is discussed in the last part of Pada II (astanga yoga), Pada III, and IV.

The Ordinary Mind and Ordinary Raga: Profane/Mundane Love versus Divine Passion/Love

Many people ask what is the difference between ordinary or mundane lust, passion, and love on one hand, and divine love and passion on the other? This is a very cogent question, because in many religious schools all passion, love, and desire is seen as negative and are dismissed, condemned, or repressed across the board. That energy of negation can result in pathological inhibitive, dissociative, schizoid, self contradictory, and neurotic consequences. What must be discerned here is that one's world view, the sense world, nature, the body, and sensual function are one thing, while what the mind makes of them to be, is another thing. Shutting down the sense organs, one's innate feelings, or negating nature and life is pathological. What needs to be worked on (rather than avoided or ignored) is how the mind reacts and imputes "the world". Negation and escapism is over simplistic and misses the point entirely. First let us understand what Patanjali means by raga. as ordinary dualistic desire based on asmita. Study of I.17 and I.18 in that regard is essential.

Dr. Christopher Chapple simply states accurately that the klesha of raga is:

"Attraction is clinging to pleasure."

Raga is really an association imputed upon an object, event, or activity which promises pleasure (sukha) or release. That such a pleasure is neurotic, temporary or unnecessary is usually not calculated into the equation. It is the same as stating that "not" having this object, event, or activity would be painful (duhkha). Hence in raga there is an assumed attachment to results which makes it klishta, as distinct from unattached natural pleasure, which leaves no karmic residue. Likewise, there is an important element of time, anticipation, or expectation of pleasure (sukha) as in a projected future union combined with the sense of ownership of that pleasure (asmita-raga) inherent in raga. Raga takes us out of the body and sacred timeless presence. Hence, there is an element of escape and loss associated with it. Raga (as desire, craving. longing, and attachment) hence reinforces the spiritual Diaspora. Raga as craving for "some thing" in anticipation to the result of a future enjoyment of its possession, hence expending energy and vectors toward that goal oriented process takes us out of the sacred present -- now awareness. Just so, one may say that raga it is a result of ignoring or non-recognition of sacred presence -- not being HERE and NOW, hence it is an avoidance or denial of unobstructed vision (vidya).

Likewise as a result of this non-recognition (which is none other than avidya) the ego then experiences dissatisfaction with the NOW and craves a future association == is attracted to or wishes to join up and merge with another object. Again the chronic anticipation of sukha (pleasure) being associated with the pleasure itself, rather than as its lack (craving) becomes an addictive exciting divergent activity such as the excitement of window shopping, pornography, vicarious sports, ersatz living, or other distractions -- cravings that premise ersatz fulfillment. In this sense both raga and dvesa are two secondary kleshas which solidify the more primary kleshas of asmita (the egoic mind's sense of separateness and alienation) and avidya (lack of primal vision) because the victim is constantly looking toward external I/it objects or phenomena in dualistic pursuits for mental comfort, pleasure, or security.

Craving is a state of mind based on a dualistic separation, alienation, lack/absence or scarcity, but the common man mistakenly associates it as fullness, while confusing the process with its result. Since the anticipation of fulfillment of a craving is associated with the craving itself, the common man is fooled that the more desires he has the more pleasure he will obtain. An example is being hungry brings spice into life, or craving sexual intercourse is pleasurable because it is concomitant with sexual orgasm, and so forth where the craving is confused with its fulfillment. Is it the orgiastic pleasure associated with union in sexual joining which many desire, or is it the associated craving, desire, arousal, foreplay, and titillation which promises orgasm the driving factor. Really isn't even complete sexual physical orgasm hollow without ego loss -- without any transpersonal after effect? What is it that drives us? Do we know? Hence can we act consciously with wisdom driven by healthy instincts and capable of discerning between these and compulsive neurotic mechanisms which enslave one and create suffering? Hence the dog chases its tail. Addiction is based upon this cycle of seeking happiness in metaphors -- in that which is symbolic, representational, hollow, superficial, compensatory, and neurotic, It will never substitute for the real thing.

The average person locked into their myopic samsaric prison mistakes samsaric existence as pleasurable (see more on this in the discussion of next sutra regarding dvesa). Craving severely distorts the citta-vrtti (mindfield) as a wave of external desire. In the meditator it appears as the wandering mind (combined with dvesa). All addictions have raga at its base (seeking happiness in external pursuits of pleasure). Raga combined with asmita and avidya form the basis of insatiable greed, where avariciousness is also similar, but contains in addition the next klesha, dvesa (antipathy).

Raga, as a mental affliction, is a difficult habit to break, because its victims for the most part believe that they are experiencing pleasure, rather than bondage and pain. On a physical level this can be seen as desire for sensual contacts such as good tasting food, sex, music, perfume, etc. but on a mental level it shows up as the desire to unite with and the attachment thereof of the ego (self) with the seen (object) as a substitute union-- the conflation of the observer with that which is observed; hence it is obvious that it is due to asmita and avidya. This is also called false identification, sarupyam citta-vrtti, and samyoga in a general sense. Ultimately one learns that pleasure, like, good, and preferable are all the results of the mind -- a light goes off in the pleasure center as a result. It is never the case that any object gives us happiness, but rather it is the mind. So the yogi learns how to stay genuinely happy free from causality, condition, or circumstances. This is concomitant with unconditional freedom (kaivalyam).

Raga as attraction or attachment to the appearances of objects and/or conditions is most often simplemindedly translated as "desire". But it is valuable to point out that "raga" is the specific false identification or rather confusion that misinforms us that the pursuit of objects of attraction will bring about cessation of our cravings or rather create happiness/pleasure. But as any meditator knows, true happiness is a result of a state of mind. The state of mind which is non-dual union (samadhi) comes first.In fact we learn that craving actually doesn't feel good at all, even though we may have learned that its pursuit often brings about a temporary reward. Profane love is egoic love. It is based on a fragmented view -- the split from the innate intelligent evolutionary power. Mundane love is always neurotic, perverse, superficial, and compensatory. It attempts to fill the hollowness that resulted from the subject/object split in the fabrication of the house of the ego (asmita) -- when primordial consciousness became hijacked by criminal and perverse elements in our karmic environment. Yoga reverses all of those negative conditions through positive conditioning. Yoga re-educates the neurophysiological circuitry, the brain, and the patterns of thinking so that it aligns up again with the innate intelligent natural evolutionary power and source. That way primordial consciousness is always available as the true guide/teacher in NOW awareness and true beingness. One has to only get a small taste of that nectar. perfume, and beauty to become its disciple.

This is where Divine passion and love comes in as divine remembrance/remembering -- as reconnecting with Source. As explained above temporal, neurotic, or profane, or is a perverse or compensatory love, Perhaps profane is not the best word, as we do not mean to establish "sacred cows" or taboos, but rather to cut through to the chase. Divine passion is rather our natural state where non-dual wisdom pours forth out of us spontaneously. When we act as its natural integral expression, then boundless happiness love, compassion, wisdom, and egalitarianism are also naturally expressed. The goal of yoga is to experience and abide in that state experientially, effortlessly, and continually. This is not derived or concluded from books, external authorities, or the intellect, but is due to a transpersonal non-dual experience which authentic yoga sadhana will produce when approached with devotion, one pointed focus, passion, and feeling so that the innate responsive/intuitive transconceptual circuitry is awakened.

On the path to that goal one also utilizes divine passion and love. Sometimes this is called the desire for desirelessness. But that characterization can be a sticky wicket, as a separate self may interpret that as a statement of negation, indifference, antipathy, or repression, rather than a state of utter bliss and fulfillment. Again I.12-18 are key sutras, Vairagya again is the key to understanding divine love. When we have given up all personal; attachments not only as owners of things but owners of thoughts, then and only then will divine grace descend. That is love. When asmita (the ego) dies, then Divine passion will engulf one in its flames. Ego death is the death of I/it dualism. Negation, repression or walking a narrow path will not bring this ripening and opening to fruition, albeit the intent may be noble.

We all have the primal imprint of divine love inside us -- that potential bliss and virtue is the primal imprint (samskara). It is the Buddha seed (the seed Bodhicitta), the buddhanature, the core/heart universal formless and attributeless, essence called isvara. As we aspire naturally toward it, removing obstacles (kleshas), it simultaneously flows through us instantaneously. Sadhana then becomes the process oriented adventure of discovering and revealing that innate love and happiness in self and others (non-dually) -- In All Our Relations. Eventually there is no longer any search, no quest, no practice, nothing not to desire or desire. Now Awareness and Instant Presence. Here. Now Pure Consciousness- Pure Beingness as sacred presence-- Great Bliss in the innate Integrity of Sat-Cit-Ananda.

Ignorance is Bliss? --Wisdom reflects true and lasting happiness

There is an American idiom that says, "Ignorance is bliss". It means that many people desire to hear only the good news, preferential news, flattering data, and messages that massage their prejudices and egoic mindsets. That, they associate with the mental pleasure of their ego fixation. At the same time these same people dislike hearing any news that contradicts their prejudice, expectations, preferences, or which may not be flattering to their egoic identity. This dislike may act in extreme cases beyond mere irritation/resentment to a state of reflexive and compulsive denial while ignoring any data that contradicts one's preferred belief or identity. It is just not heard, but rather blocked out through egoic defense mechanisms. In this way many people appear very happy in their egoic cocoons as long as they are not subjected to information which contradicts their preferred view of self and the world. For the most part, when confronted with conflicting information, such people may quickly become unhappy, distraught, or angry. They often seek isolation in cocoons of like-minded people who share their beliefs (like denizens in enclaves of group pride), such as customized clubs, bars, communities, and so forth. In these closeted mindsets, the idea of pleasure or happiness is dependent upon isolation. It is a temporary happiness dependent on the ego finding pleasure in the security afforded by external self gratifying circumstances. To state that another way, it is dependent upon not being confronted with data which contradict the ego's mental sense of gratification or pleasure.

Another type of person may like diversity, new information, variation, while always being open and tolerant of other people's views and ideas without feeling threatened. There is less fear and anger in the latter type person, hence more genuine happiness. Although there may be the absence of the ersatz happiness that comes from egoic flattery, praise, or self satisfaction (based on comparative worth or not), happiness as a sense of well being and deep knowing of who one truly is in relationship with the momentum of the evolutionary force is much stronger. Being that fear, anger, jealousy, prejudice, asmita, and insecurity factors are less, one's overall happiness quotient is considerably higher.

To sum up, many people may temporarily think that they are truly "happy" in not-knowing. They don't want o hear the bad news. It can be said that they can't hear it, are deaf, numbed, ignore, or have holes in their knowledge (blocks). This can be said to be due because the desire for egoic gratification succeeds that of the passion to know the truth, but perhaps closer is that fear to know, exceeds their capacity to accept contradictory information and assimilate it. The tragedy is that many people do not know how to think for themselves and have allowed other people (parents, priests, political or religious leaders, talk show hosts, authoritarian types, etc), do their thinking for them. When confronted with new information that may contradict their isolated point of view, they tend to backslide into their prejudice, attempting to avoid "pain" and remain "happy" within the sphere of egoic based pleasure. Of course, in yoga, we talk about the great bliss (mahasukha or ananda) which is based on the union of Sat (pure beingness) and Cit (pure awareness). It is nothing other than the light of wisdom and compassion shining through our channels (nadis) and warming us. It is transconceptual, non-dual, and transpersonal wisdom.

True Love is not Egoic "Love", Desire, nor Attachment

Non-initiates, who have no intact conscious memory of experiencing non-dual realization, will conflate the kleshas of the egoic self (asmita), ordinary I/it desire, and attachment (raga) with compassionate and unconditional love. This egoic displacement is home base for those who desire to control other people's lives in an exploitive manner. Mechanisms of self-deceit and pride tell them that they know what is best for others. Such people manipulate other people and even take it on themselves to punish others, justifying such punishment as being instructive or for the other's overall good. Taken to the extreme, such is the component of evangelistic movements, witch-hunts, exorcism, and even forced conversions.

For example, one may say that they love a picture. That means that they like the picture to be in their lives. The picture brings pleasure and comfort to that person. If the picture that they like is damaged, destroyed, or stolen, the owner may become unhappy. They may think, "I loved that picture, but now that is gone. It's joy that it gave me is gone." Really they enjoyed the object's company. If so, then an attachment disorder may be set in motion, where there is experienced a loss and a need for yet another replacement, as an ersatz neurotic object. That is an example of neurotic love or simple carnal desire (raga). The point is that such egoic attachment is NOT compassionate love. Any ersatz object could suffice as a substitute for the absence of sacred presence -- for the feeling of loss being apart from the whole, rather than being in an intimate loving embrace/connection. That object could be a cat, dog, lover, friend, or relative. True spiritual love affirms our transpersonal non-dual connection. It is a compassionate love where giving is receiving.

If a mindset, which is afflicted by asmita-raga klesha, imputes that they love a person, they are simply stating that they like that person as an object in their life, they appreciate that person, or approve of them. Consequently, when that person is not in their lives they may feel abandoned, lonely, or resentful. Such selfish egoic thinking is far removed from selfless compassion or true unconditional love. Rather they are happy when they have these objects/people in their lives, and unhappy when they are not. That kind of happiness is based on separation and it is insecure, because there is fear in losing it. People desire true happiness, but they do not know where or how to find it. That is where wisdom comes into the picture. Loving ice cream, chocolate, whiskey, money, fame, control, cars, cats, trees, birds, or "other" as objects of possession or pleasure is ordinary desire (raga), unless the context is shifted to non-dual wisdom, where transpersonal compassionate love shines brightly and spontaneously.   

Vajra Passion, Vajra Love, and Desire as Boundless Non-dual Compassion

Just as in the previous sutra we defined vajra or spiritual pride. So too we will define Vajra Passion similarly. In ordinary dualistic mental states raga is based on the imputation of a separate self and a separate object of desire. Succinctly, it is based on the mistaken view of subject/object duality. It can be said that raga then is mostly selfish. In vajra passion, the desire is selfless and hence objectless. Vajra love is entirely free from craving or attachment to any phenomena. It is the bodhicitta (innate buddha mind of awakening) expressing itself naturally and unalloyed in boundless compassion. Vajra passion, as compassion, is based on one's natural transpersonal non-dual real situation, devoid of egoic delusion. There is no single object or qualification of vajra passion. Rather it is objectless shining freely -- self luminous by itself. Any and all that comes into its path is bathed by it -- in it. thus it is said that there are no objects nor end of true compassion -- it simply shines on and on and on.

Vajra passion comes from vajra space. In its essential nature, it is objectless. It harnesses the energy of pure compassion devoid of clinging, preference, or dislike. It is unstoppable and irrepressible. Vajra compassion conquers all fear and attachment. Such is its power. Vajra compassion occurring in impenetrable vajra space has no isolated referent, no solid ground except in the all encompassing vajra-like aspect of the ever-changing boundless and unlimited dimensions of samadhi-time/samadhi-space. The true self is empty of self. That formless self is universal and omnipresent. It is known everywhere as imperishable, and hence vajralike, yet carefully discerned as embedded in differentiated consciousness as undifferentiated consciousness. It is self effulgent as-it-is -- but being all pervading it is beyond subtle -- rarefied to the extreme. There is no place where it is not, hence it is impenetrable, all pervading, adamantine, and timeless. The primordial undifferentiated consciousness (pure objectless/formless awareness or light) is eternally/constantly NOW and HERE, ever present, and always has been/will be, in NOW awareness NOW. That Adamantine vajra NOW is all we ever have. From that vajra-space, objectless pure vajra compassion arises.

This can be realized in stages starting from egoic ignorance (avidya) and moving to enlightened transpersonal non-dual awareness (the realization of one's innate buddhanature potential) . First, one recognizes one's dualistic nature as craving and suffering. Then the yogi desires at first to not crave, become attached, or enslaved. One desires to become liberated in order to help liberate others. The yogi's non-dual awareness grows into the boundless mind where wisdom and compassion are inseparable. That process may take many years or eons. One desires the happiness of all beings and feels compassion for all those who are unhappy. Such a yogi develops a strong passion for the Sanatana dharma, for truth, justice, integrity, and ahimsa. As this compassion turns ferocious, adamantine, immovable, and unstoppable, yogic practitioners are filled with a burning undying enthusiasm that propels and inspires their practice. This fire is the bodhicitta or the motive will and power toward transpersonal awakening that has empowered all buddhas and yogis. In that state of Vajra Passion desires for ersatz temporary objects (things) are known as ordinary raga, distraction, diversions, and are instantly and naturally discarded. This occurs spontaneously when true virtue is expressed and reflected. In truth separate independent objects are beginningless in that they never existed even for a moment. Rather they were created by the ideational mind (the process of ignoring). Phenomena truly exist non- dually, not separate -- they are empty of a separate self since beginningless time. When the true nature of mind is awakened, then the true nature of nature is illumined. Also see Vajra Anger as selfless compassionate action. Also See Vajra Pride

"As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings; radiating kindness over the entire world." ~The Buddha, Sutta Nipata I, 8

"Normally" what Appears as Fun and Happiness is actually Suffering: Pleasure is Pain:

This section has two aspects. The first is what appears as mundane or dualistic pleasure or happiness is in reality actually painful. The second aspect is that the very quest for dualistic pleasure/happiness is itself painful, being both the result of a pre-existing more primary painful displacement and a search outside in phenomena for its resolution, which is impossible. In short the quest for happiness that is dependent upon conditions is at best temporary and incomplete; while true` happiness is interdependent, being based on the natural, unconditioned, and intimate state of (interconnected) awareness (yoga). Also see pada I.16-17 for more on dualistic (samprajnata) pleasure.

To the mundane and neurotic egoic mindset what often appears to be fun, is in reality a diversion (viksepa) from true and lasting happiness. It is most often a distraction and temporary compensatory mechanism which enslaves the participant. Waking up allows us to let go (vairagya) these activities and subsequently delve deeper into true happiness. This realization requires spiritual maturity -- self knowledge and recognition..

Craving is the embodiment of dissatisfaction. In fact it takes us away of the well being possible in the sacred present. Desires not only pull us out of the Now awareness in anticipation and expectation, but its very nature is based on not being happy in our present now awareness -- it is based on dissatisfaction, want, or lack. That is why that which often appears as fun, entertainment, pleasure, and happiness is actually a mode of suffering, raga/dvesa as a klesha (affliction). Its very nature is duhkha (suffering).

Habitually one confuses the desire with its fulfillment in anticipation, hence the excitement of anticipatory pleasure becomes addictive in chronic neurotic activity. The pursuit is associated with the end result so one ascribes pleasure to the pursuit. Hence, shopping, hunting, sexual titillation, exotic dining, etc. For example pursuits such as shopping is actually masochistic, often associated with pleasure itself and hence is often mistaken as a pleasurable activity even if one comes home empty handed or exhausted. Masochism obviously is a psychopathy. Because it is often titillating, as it awakens dead nerve impulses and allows the self imposed victim to get in touch or deal with their deep repressed feelings, albeit dysfunctionally, it tells a story of dissociation, past trauma, inhibition, and/or unreleased residual pain when successfully seen as-it-is. Hence we can learn from it. But just understanding the whys and how's of it is not enough for the victim to let go of this tendency (analysis is not therapy), rather the most successful "therapy" is to replace the need for such titillation with more effective practices which enliven and irrigate the organism with fresh prana and consciousness (evolutionary creative energy) via yogic practices such as authentic astanga yoga for example.

This won't be an in-depth discussion of the myriad negative psychological, social, economic, and environmental implications of raga, but let it suffice to say that there are many. For example, obesity for the most part, is the result of chronic craving, which is sublimated toward self gratifying compensation through excessive eating. Over consuming as well as over achieving, greed, and addiction are of course also results of raga. Those are numerous mundane examples. In yoga the wandering or monkey mind during meditation (dhyana) is a manifestation of raga. The basic vector is attraction, attachment, and fixation due to prior displacement (the split or basic separation from one's true nature), while the solution is vairagya (letting go of the fixation, creating space, and the return to original nature). That is why Sri Patanjali emphasized abhyasa vairagyabhyam.

Raga, like all the other kleshas is a condition of ignorance (avidya), when consciousness separates from at-one-ment with its own true nature (swarupa) and assumes a false/substitute identity (asmita) in the samsaric realm of citta-vrtti. Avidya is non-other than non-recognition of the true nature of mind as-it-is in reality. Again, desire/craving takes us out of the present and/or attempts to compensate for the rend of being separated from Now Awareness. Therefore it is clear that raga is a result of a more primary split or spiritual affliction, a rend from a more primary deprivation from the deepest heart felt sense of wholeness -- the integrated connection with All Our Relations . When that primary separation occurs, no substitute will adequately compensate for that split from wholeness and completion -- the Great Integrity or Completion which is by its nature, naturally vast and all encompassing, but is at the same time widely ignored in materialistic societies through the programming of spiritual ignorance (egoic delusions).

Raga is thus a temporary compensatory (neurotic) displacement-fulfillment mechanism for our more primary desire (spiritual love) -- a substitute for union (yoga) with the true imperishable Natural Self which has become misdirected/distracted and corrupted into states of chronic yearnings accompanied by temporary fulfillment/satisfaction. -- a temporal replacement/displacement which is secondary and ultimately misleading (leading to further graspings (parigraha), greed, avarice, fear, and conflict. This neuroses assumes a split/rend and disconnect from the Whole Self in the first place -- an egoic state of fragmentation and separation (asmita). When that becomes habituated, one chronically seeks fulfillment in the pursuit and processes of the procurement and possession of external or outward phenomena, objects, people, events, or experiences. The more the repression or inhibition of the expression of that primary love drive in All Our Relations, the greater will be the internal conflict, tension, frustration, dissatisfaction, and need/craving. Even the need for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol, drugs, escapism, and other activities which dissociate and numb the human being can be identified as raga, hence passionate renunciation, self abnegation, repression, and self censor stems from the same root as other outward forms of raga. The ultimate solution is always the same -- openness, love, reconnection, spiritual realization, realizing the truth of interdependence, the surrender of the egoic delusion.

Thus chronic habits, fixation patterns, and vicious circles are created which cause additional attachment, compulsion, fear, addictions, and bondage. This is the statement of the first Noble truth in Buddhism; that the ego's tendency to grasp onto objects which are impermanent or temporal constitutes the major cause of suffering. The fixation upon an ego, a physical body, or that which is always changing is just another grasping onto a limited way of being. Thus raga organizes the distraught and fragmented ego around an objectified goal/desire. That attraction reinforces the ego's self made prison (based on avidya and asmita). Life is so much richer when we let go or renounce such fixations, but such a process requires positive focused intent and awareness.

Boredom, Complacency, Sloth, Indifference, Indolence, and Apathy versus Excitement, Stimulation, and Shopping

A bored, indolent, apathetic, complacent, or indifferent person is not a signal bearer for vairagya, but rather the opposite. In short non-attachment to results occurs because of true happiness, completeness, and contentment has been realized through interconnected and vibrant union. It is NOT found through disunion/disconnect. It is NOT found through repression, inhibition, withdrawal, abandonment, or escape primarily; albeit, an abandonment of modalities of asmita and avidya are involved. Renunciation does not mean sacrifice; rather it mans victory over the forces of distraction and dissuasion. It is achieved through practicing vairagya as recognition (asamprajnata), which cuts through the attachment associations between the observer and its objects. It is explained well in sutras I.17-18, as asamprajnata (non-dual recognition). Breaking up addictions that are recognized through vidya as being mere distractions creates space for connecting with the primordial presence (which is ever-present). It's qualities are light and compassionate love, and as such is nothing like boredom, sloth, indifference, dissociation, withdrawal, or apathy.

Yoga practice facilitates a connection and empowerment that is loving and fulfilling. Boredom itself is a sign of disconnect and disempowerment. It is a sign that something is lacking, the true nature of mind is blocked, and that the path ways of illumined compassion are obstructed. In many instances boredom, lethargy, and apathy (as a disconnect) are prerequisites for craving where the observer then desires excitement, travel, adventure, objects, and titillation, which is for the most part neurotic; i.e., temporary compensatory substitutes for their primal disconnect. These neurotic compensatory substitutes (sukhanusayi raga) can be almost numberless. A modern example is shopping as a diversion. One may go shopping because of boredom, and find it an "interesting" diversion, entertaining, and even imagine buying some thing or another. As long as one does not actually buy the object, it is a less harmful diversion (a diversion none-the-less). Buying the object while imagining that it will bring the owner happiness only feeds the dynamic mechanisms of neurotic distraction/dissuasion. (as samsara).

The Mechanism of Raga: What is Happiness and Where Can it Be Found?

The ancient yogis learned to know their own mind through yogic practice. They learned *not* how to control or repress their mind or behavior, rather how to release the impediments and obstructions, and thus abide in the true nature of mind. This way one's evolutionary potential became empowered, consciousness was expanded, and great bliss realized (the end of suffering) through recognition of the original unborn mind.

The stages of recognition through raga first involve a recognition of preexisting ignorance. There is a hint of a state of disconnection of consciousness from innate at-wonderment -- from All Our Relations, which becomes quickly followed by a mentally contrived egoic state, a displacement, a compensatory substitute, a separate disconnected entity (ego), which is called asmita or the ego sense which further lacks an authentic object of self gratification. This egoic mind then craves union, but because this mindset is occluded by ignorance (avidya) of its true nature (sarupa), it looks for union/happiness in the realm of dualistic phenomena (the estranged world of separate objects and a separate "I"). Lasting happiness and union will never be found that way. That is the fundamental teaching of Patanjali and Buddha. That external quest is a dead end road, just as a heroin addict, an alcoholic, or greed machine will find out one day. Rather there exists a far more gratifying path back home-- lasting happiness, unconditional freedom, Great Bliss and the end to suffering not dependent upon any external objects of possession -- no obsessions. Eventually in samadhi all quests are quelled. Complete fulfillment is realized beyond any dualistic desire whatsoever. Here unalloyed light and compassionate non-dual love are experienced, expressed, and reign supreme.

To reiterate, there is first a disconnection from one's true natural state, , then the craving, then the false identifications and pursuit with desire associating the craving with the object (pleasure as craving), then attachment to the object (greed, parigraha, possessiveness, obsession)., and fear of losing the objects (dvesa). This can become a predictive self-fulfilling habit/routine as in an addictive behavior of craving, pursuit/attraction, union (temporary gratification), attachment, then craving again, pursuit/attraction, etc., until recognition/mindfulness begins to predominate.

Waking up includes complete satisfaction/fulfillment (santosha) in the present (NOW), which is known in conscious integration of natural unconditioned state. For example, in yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana (meditation) the mind, energy, and attention are brought back into the present moment when it wanders. This present NOW attention/awareness is not some dead existential place or repressive hard place beside a cold rock, rather it contains everything -- it is everything and is known through practice. This provides great bliss/happiness and fulfillment/completion, not as a desired goal/result, but as a symptom/quality of attainment.

For a yogi happiness/contentment is not possessing or yoking toward an external object or ersatz order, rather it is a state of mind. It is knowing what-is-as-it truly is, and deepening one's connection with the primordial momentum of the moment. The yogi learns how to attune body, breath (energy), and mind in non-dual timeless communion.

Ordinary pleasure is often experienced as the satisfaction of a desire and thus a pre-existing tension or stress is resolved or discharged (at least temporarily). One rests in the present rather than being goal oriented (toward an object). Also the release or removal of fear, a threat, or pain (physical or mental) is also associated with pleasure. This type of self gratification although part and parcel of raga (desire or attachment) is confused with an anticipation of pleasure (its gratification), rather than as a struggle or suffering state (duhkha). Here in confusion (avidya) the process of goal orientation is confused with obtaining its object (they are blurred together by the confused mind as one); hence the average person perpetuates their own conflation of pain with pleasure. One easily can be conditioned and fall victim in associating the attraction/repulsion as an anticipation of pleasure/pain. Too often while suffering from neurotic ego afflictions man puts in front of him neurotic objects of desire to be grasped or obtained by the ego, such as in goal oriented pursuits of fame, objects of self worth, amassing of wealth, symbols of success, authority, privilege, power, status, commodity consumption (consumerism), etc. Especially the will for power, privilege, status, and control, (as power over others) is one such manifestation of an internal lack.The pain of not obtaining these objects is obvious in raga (attachment), but the pain associated in craving them in the first place is less obvious, never-the-less it is experienced as such, and can be discerned by the discerning.


It doesn't interest me if there is one God or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others. I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world with its harsh need
to change you.  If you can look back with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand.  I want to know if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living falling toward
the center of your longing.  I want to know if you are willing
to live, day by day with the consequence of love and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have been told, in that fierce embrace, even the gods speak of God.

David Whyte, "Self Portrait"

In yoga the apparent separation (dualistic rend) between the seer and seen -- the object of gratification to be possessed is seen as being based on a false assumption -- the assumption of duality, ignorance, avidya, and ego (asmita). In authentic yoga one perceives these false assignations to be distractive and neurotic -- being both contrived and compensatory for a greater longing for union due to a more primary and spiritual dissociation/separation which when reunified and completed (as authentic yoga) brings santosha (true contentment) and bliss (ananda) versus ordinary pleasure. Thus the completion of ordinary desire by obtaining the object of the desire can at best bring about temporary pleasure, but eventually more craving is sure to arise until the primary and non-neurotic passion is completed. That is because the context remains limited and unchanged, one thus repeats the same error while nothing has been learned. A vicious cycle is often formed where the craving itself is confused with the expectation of its consummation so that there becomes a perverse association of pleasure with the process of craving/desire itself. The greater the anticipation or expectation (raga) the greater the resultant suffering, yet at the point of obtaining the object there is a temporary sense of gratification (which is really a release of tension or strife in getting "there").

Similarly unmet desire, expectation, or assumptions then create frustration, displeasure, disappointment, and sometimes grief, resentment or anger (aversion). Similarly when there is attachment, there is often fear associated in losing that which one is attached to. For example if one is attached to a nice house, car, or job, one may become fearful of losing such. For some the more they have, the more they fear. Likewise, the pursuit of security when one is afraid of losing something because they feel insecure, can be said to be a desire/craving as well as an aversion, just as the feeling of temporary well being can over come one after they have escaped from robbers or murderers. Pleasure is the reward and pain is the payment [for ordinary neurotic craving]. Ordinary pleasure and pain are two sides of one coin. Some one carves something and then is rewarded by its union. That is part of the cycle of samsara. More craving (pain), then the more pleasure that is sought. Liberated beings spontaneously manifest santosha and compassion. They reflect the light gleaned from direct experience (vidya) basking in the thousand petaled sun of unspeakable complete integrated spiritual realization.

What is missing is that the ego (I) still perceives the object (it) as subject/object duality. Hence merging with the object is still a limited prison. The real Self is the observer, the object, AND all object, and no objects, all at once. The "object" serves in the latter context as an open doorway -- as a manifestation of mutual causation (interdependence) where behind the veil the innate intelligent evolutionary power is revealed. All the rest is a perversion, corruption, or fragmentation; a futile attempt to find wholeness in a disparate and limited mind-field. Some practices attenuate the kleshas as we have read. Kriya yoga removes even the causes of the kleshas, but few are able to apply such without preliminary support. After the attenuation and then the complete removal of the kleshas become easier in stages. Then spiritual obfuscation and suffering is eliminated. Then is lasting happiness possible outside the cycle of craving, desire, fear, aversion, ego (asmita), pride, greed, jealousy, and death). All the kleshas when understood come from the same dualistic source, the estrangement/fragmentation from Self -- the split of individual consciousness in non-recognition from Universal Source Consciousness.

Similarly, mental pleasure or gratification of the ego can also be accomplished through aversion/repulsion (dvesa) just like raga, not only in the process of assuaging or removing fears, but in exacting revenge in gaining "satisfaction", ego gratification, a compensatory sense of self worth and victory or justice by exacting punishment to one's enemies or to those who have become associated as having inflicted pain upon oneself. Of course this pain is the result of one's own error of mentation, but it is imputed that an outside agency is in control -- has inflicted the blow.

Masochism, schadenfreude, and sadism, are also involved in finding a perverse pleasure as satisfaction in the pain which titillates a pre-existing sensate feeling or memory, like scratching an itch. Even more perverse are schadenfreude (enjoyment taken from the misfortune of others), torturing or teasing others, or morose delectation, First the basis must be created, the mental situation of absence, lack, scarcity, or self estrangement. They are the result of blocked, frustrated or repressed desire. Indeed neurotic, vicarious, and materialistic consumer based cultures tend to perpetuate over-stimulation and over-consumption, gluttony, greed, needs, and such dissatisfaction habitually through mind manipulation tactics to the point that such becomes chronic and "normal". Regardless, it is futile to find lasting happiness by neurotically chasing these phantoms of raga (attractions/anticipations) or dvesa (dislike or fear) caused by avidya.

A modern example is the widespread popularity of viagra (an expensive pharmaceutical drug that stimulates the sexual desire in men). For these men, the craving (raga) is associated (anusayi) with the actual pleasure of the sexual act (sukha) because these men have no other means toward experiencing such pleasurable feelings. To a yogi, such reasoning and resultant activities appear ridiculous, and so it is. It is the result of a very disconnected mindset (vrtti). We will discuss sadism and masochism in greater detail further on, but for now it can be said that all mental suffering is self imposed, self concluded, and self imputed. Placing the situation in that context, then self-liberation becomes tenable. However, a mere correct intellectual analysis alone will rarely effect liberation. Rather, effective practice is still necessary to eliminate the residual tendencies, pain and karma, while yoga is is rich in such practices which must be tailored to individual conditions/conditioning. Similarly, appetite stimulants, spices, pornography, and the like artificially transforms a passive or disconnected person and stimulates their desire (raga) in the hope of anticipating pleasure. For many people these modalities of self-gratifying desire are defined as the purpose of their lives. They measure their success in regard to how many sexual encounters they may achieve, how many grandiose meals that they have eaten, how many objects that they own, how many mountain tops they have climbed, and similar.

Raga and sukha are strong mental associative components that reinforce false identification of ego and pride (asmita) by addicting the mind to stories, messages, dramas, people and and world views that tells the story that is pleasurable, gratifying, and praising to ego pride (asmita) -- that strokes the limited ego fixation telling it that it is good and worthy. Like asmita-klesha, raga klesha is strongly associated with attachment to the citta-vrtti (See I.5) and especially attachment to views, especially identification with "right" or correct views, pram an-vrtti (see I.7). This is a source (together with avidya, asmita, and dvesa vrttis for much egoic defensive and aggressive activity which cause much turmoil, suffering, and negative karma, because here stoking the ego becomes paramount over truth. Raga klesha and asmita-klesha are primary factors for greed, envy, and other attachment disorders whose variations are almost numberless.

Likewise, this desire for stroking the ego (producing temporary and compensatory pleasure) shows up in our preferences, prejudice, and predilections which anticipate the future and as such severely limit it and/or create disappointment. The affliction (klesha) of mental preference occurs when the deluded ego sees what it desires to see, what is most pleasing to the ego and supports it, rather than to see what-is as truth. In other words the spiritual seeker seeks the truth, rather than to serve its vanity, mechanisms of self gratification, self justification, and pleasure (of which the latter serves asmita, pride, delusion, and self deceit). In everyday life because of our grasping and attachment man becomes subject to manipulation, corruption, graft, avarice, greed, covetousness, acquisitiveness, paranoia, rapaciousness, infatuation, possessiveness, addictive behavior, lust, malfeasance, perversion, prostitution, neuroses, selfishness, and so forth because the desire for the object supercedes other priorities such as spiritual values or conscience.

The point here is that raga is associated with secondary, compensatory or neurotic pleasure or temporary happiness within the prison of cyclic existence (the context of samsara or duality). Yoga as a spiritual discipline aims at unconditional liberation and unconditional happiness outside of the wheel of samsara (free from duhkha or sukha). Authentic yoga assumes a spiritual passion for spiritual liberation, unbounded happiness, boundless love, and its expression. It will not serve as an ornament of samsaric or egoic consciousness.

Remember Sutra I.17 vitarka-vicara-ananda-asmita-rupanugamat samprajnatah

[This gradual process which is yogic practice (sadhana) without attachment to results] is at first accompanied by the attainment of a limited knowledge based on the cognizing mindset (samprajnata), which in turn is accompanied with (anugamat) various forms of pleasure (ananda), coarse objectification processes (vitarka), subtle objectifications (vicara) such as attachment to mental objects of form (rupa), but such experiences are still associated with a definite feeling of "I-it" separateness and false identification (asmita) and thus also has the potential that serves to reinforce it.

I.17 best describes the mechanism of raga and I.18 its antidote. Since fear is simply a negative desire ; i.e., the desire for something not to happen, vairagya is also the remedy for dvesa. It is the remedy for samsara as well, but few have realized vairagya as described in I.18.

Any predilection or preference for something to happen or not to happen will bring with it some tension and affliction unless we remain unattached. The larger the attachment, the greater the associated duhkha (pain). As we shall see raga (attraction) and dvesa (repulsion) are simply two sides of one coin being the main motor power of normal neurotic living. The obvious immediate yoga remedy of the kleshas of raga, dvesa, and asmita is vairagya (non-attachment) and as a practical application aparigraha. In ashtanga yoga the practice of the bandhas, tapas and pratyhara serve the same end. In everyday life generating compassion and engaging in generosity and selfless service as well as the practice of chitta-prasadanam (remembering the divine) is remedial to raga. See I. 17 and I.42.

"Who fights with bows and arrows is not the true valiant one. Who banishes from his mind all cravings, lures, and greed is a warrior indeed."


Similarly, the Bhagavadgita tells us that the demons that we fight externally are merely external projections of the inner demons of the subconscious mind which haunt us -- disparate parts of ourselves which we have not yet fully recognized, confronted, and reconciled, Outer peace will be won, when the inner war is over.

BetrayaL: Dependence or Trust on External "things", events, objects, people, or in general dualistic "systems", as ersatz realities creates a sense of BETRAYAL and angst

Trust can be misplaced. It is commonly done by those who are confused. One commonly forms attachment relationships and expectations toward parents, friends, places, jobs, situations, etc; and with that often expectations of acceptance, love, reward, or security. These attachment relationships are a form of raga Misplacing trust or dependence on "things" that are impermanent is not wise. Rather it is a result of avidya (ignorance). When trust is broken often a sense of betrayal results. If the trust and faith in a person, group, organization, religion, or belief was deep (which is another way of saying that the attachment was strong), then one often experiences the pangs of betrayal. Such can deteriorate into blame, hatred, anger, paranoia, cynicism, nihilism, and other kleshas. An unfortunate consequence is then not trusting anything or anybody (cynicism and paranoia) to the degree that when a positive opportunity arises which is worthy of our trust, which is reliable, and is true; one avoids it because of the great pain associated with trust.

The Four Reliances

"First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings, not on the words;
Second, rely on the teachings, not on the personality of the teacher;
Third, rely on real wisdom, not superficial interpretation;
And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind, not on judgmental perceptions"

The Buddha

Mipham Rinpoche comments on the four reliance in "The Sword of Wisdom"

"If you do not have such understanding,
Then, like a blind man leaning on his staff,
You can rely on fame, mere words or what is easy to understand,
And go against the inherent order of the four reliances.

1. Do not rely on the individual, but on the Dharma

Therefore do not rely on individuals,
But rely upon the Dharma.
Freedom comes from the genuine path that is taught,
Not the one who teaches it.

When the teachings are well presented,
 It does not matter what the speaker is like.
Even the bliss-gone buddhas themselves
Appear as butchers and such like to train disciples.

If he contradicts the meaning of the Mahayana and so on,
Then however eloquent a speaker may seem,
He will bring you no benefit,
Like a demon appearing in a buddha’s form.

2. Do not rely on the words, but on the meaning

Whenever you study or contemplate the Dharma,
Rely not on the words, but on the meaning.
If the meaning is understood, then regardless of the speaker’s style,
There will be no conflict.

When you have understood what it was
The speaker intended to communicate,
If you then continue to think about each word and expression,
It is as if you’ve found your elephant but now go in search of its footprints.

If you misinterpret what is said and then think of more words,
You’ll never stop till you run out of thoughts,
But all the while you’re only straying further and further from the meaning.
Like children playing, you’ll only end up exhausted.

Even for a single word like “and” or “but”,
When taken out of context, there’s no end to what it might mean.
Yet if you understand what is meant,
Then with that the need for the word is finished.

When the finger points to the moon,
The childish will look at the finger itself.
And fools attached to mere language,
Many think they’ve understood, but they will find it difficult.

3. Do not rely on the provisional meaning, but on the definitive meaning

When it comes to the meaning,
You should know what is provisional and what is definitive,
And rely not on any provisional meaning,
But only on the meaning that is true definitively.

The omniscient one himself in all his wisdom,
Taught according to students’ capacities and intentions,
Presenting vehicles of various levels
Just like the rungs of a ladder.

Wisely, he spoke with certain intentions in mind,
As with the eight kinds of implied and indirect teachings.
If these were to be taken literally they might be invalidated,
But they were taught for specific reasons.

4. Do not rely on the ordinary mind, but rely on wisdom

When taking the definitive meaning into experience,
Do not rely upon the ordinary dualistic mind
That chases after words and concepts,
But rely upon non-dual wisdom itself.

That which operates with conceptual ideas
Is the ordinary mind, whose nature involves perceiver and perceived.
All that is conceived in this way is false
And will never touch upon the actual nature of reality.

Any idea of real or unreal, both or neither --
Any such concept, however it's conceived is still only a concept,
And whatever ideas we hold in mind,
They are still within the domain of Mara.

This has been stated in the sutras.
It is not by any assertion or denial
That we will put an end to concepts.
But once we see without rejecting or affirming, there is freedom.

Although it is without any subject/object grasping,
There is naturally occurring wisdom that illuminates itself,
And all ideas of existence, non-existence, both and neither have ceased completely-
This is said to be supreme primordial wisdom."

True faith and trust are completed in the certainty of true vision (avidya which results from samadhi). They are the result of confidence that comes from direct experience/realization. Such comes from genuine yogic practice, not theory.

“Reliance on the Dhamma not (merely) reliance on the person; reliance on the meaning not (merely) reliance on the phrasing; reliance on the suttas whose meaning is already drawn out not (merely) reliance on those suttas whose meaning is to be drawn out (interpreted); reliance on extraordinary-knowledge* not (merely) reliance on (intellectual) discrimination.”

* "extraordinary-knowledge”: the kind of 'higher-knowledge' (abhiññā) or insight that occurs as a result of samādhi. It probably implies here the meditative realisations resulting in the attainments of the noble paths and fruits.

~ Bhikkhu Santi, translation from the Oct 2549 BE Catu-pratisaranana Sutra


Fear of change and transformation

Raga is a form of mental, energetic, and physical attachment that resists change. We ask many times why don't individual human beings continue to expand their horizons, continue to grow spiritually, and continue to learn? We ask why does human society often stagnate or even appear to move backward into more ignorance, violence, and brutality? Even when spiritual and creative leaders offer solutions, they are often ignored, resisted, and even seen as threats and crucified (such as the lesson of Jeshua ben Yusef.

This is because of attachment mechanisms to established orders (citta-vrtta) where one's consciousness remains locked onto the pre-existing configuration which on the surface appears as a known and trustworthy boundary or order. Hence in this syndrome, that which is old and stagnate becomes a known and predictable quantity which can be trusted, while the new is feared because it is not known. Wonder and creativity are gradually thrown out the window. This portrays the sad story of how creative children who have no investment with the immediate past begin to lose their creative/evolutionary potential as they "grow up" and become assimilated in adult society.

The fear of change physically is obvious and we have discussed it already. It is based on attachment mechanisms (raga) to things which we think produce pleasure (which may in truth, be producing suffering). Such is the masquerade of being lost in an ersatz world of the samsaric mindset where "I" and "it are fixated in a dualistic drama culminating in physical death. Remember there is no "world", bo phenomena, no things or objects without the senses (human body). This attachment is discussed in more death in II.9 (abhinivesa). In this realm decisions are made and actions are taken to preserve one's well being, survival, dominance, and power out of covetousness (fear of physical or social, political, or economic change. Many wars, murder, dishonesty, exploitation, abuse, and intrigues have been caused by such neurotic craving. There are of course mental and energetic patterns which become bounded when one's world view is bounded upon identification with the physical body out of context with the evolutionary energy and primordial time. In that milieu, one remains imprisoned in the citta-vrtta, while resisting the everpresent opportunities for self liberation.

The fear of change also appears on an energetic level, as the inability for humans to implement creative change in their everyday life. For example addictions to smoking, alcohol, coffee, stimulants, pornography, bad postural habits, bad breathing habits addictive or co-dependent but destructive relationships have an underlying energetic component which the logical mind and willpower have difficulty in overcoming. Energetic and emotional dynamics established with co-workers, family, and the general public may be very sticky and tenacious energetically. Here hatha yoga, pranayama, and meditation can be very helpful.

Although working on the physical or energetic level has impact on the mental level, since the fear of change is causally accessed on the mental level, it can be addressed very effectively through skillful yogic practice which works on that level. First we must recognize the mental mechanism of attachment to mental habits. These are mental thinking patterns, or the well known monkey/discursive mind known to meditators. It is known to those who know the true nature of their mind. It is available to true and dedicated seekers.

Here the ordinary samsaric dualistic mindset is attached to various concepts and beliefs (see I.7-9). These beliefs may be eternalist, nihilistic, hedonistic, self centered, materialistic, masochistic, sadistic, cynical, religious, existential, etc. Worse the mindset becomes addicted to these conceptual mental patterns and belief systems. Hence such attachment then resists new and creative ideas. In this milieu, the cultural creative, the genius, those who are true leaders become distrusted and feared by those so addicted. This occurs not only because their pre-existing physical and energetic neat, predictable, ordered, and known boundaries appear to be threatened, but ultimately because their mental limitations/boundaries are challenged, hence transformation and creative change becomes unthinkable. Their defense mechanisms of protection, insulation, egoic survival, and sense of security in the known appear to be threatened, hence the unknown is resisted, strangers are suspect, the new and different become feared, and in the extreme xenophobia occurs, as well as the demonization of those who are different. In short, the ego (I) which has become attached to constructs of a world-view that includes itself as an ego, becomes unable to accept a world-view where that egoic view is missing. Such appears as an unthinkable threat, and is hence reflexively resisted (unthinkably). That is how ignorance self perpetuates itself unthinkably. Similarly, that is how suffering self perpetuates itself as the bane to all sentient beings. There is only one final solution, waking up. For that to happen the human being has to challenge their mental assumptions, while entertaining their vast potential for evolutionary change within a context of universal all encompassing primordial time -- the way it truly is.

The egoic fear of change and the ego's related desire for predictability are both symptoms of avidya, insecurity, fear, disconnection, and false identification. For someone holding tight upon an egoic subject/object fixation, anything "new" may spell the death of self, of the world and self as one knew it, and hence appear as a threat to the ego, whereby the egoic mechanism resists or fights it, because it knows no better. This is often more intense at the time of physical death, and also at times which signal the death old paradigms or world orders. However, these are opportunities for celebrating evolution, transformation, new creative opportunities,and the new earth. See abhinivesa (Sutra II.9) for more.

True Passion is not raga

True passion is not limited to things, to fixations, expectation of reward or temporary pleasure. In short it is not limited by modalities of ignorance. True passion is non-attached love, unbounded love, unbounded compassion, loving kindness, joyful, equanimous. In a manner of speaking we may say that a human being is passionate about a specific thing, object, event,or activity -- something. Like someone may be passionate about food, cooking, alcohol, sex, fast cars, heroin, politics, work, money, rock and roll music, or any other specific thing or activity. These are all raga or limited unless they are approached with vairagya. That is not to say that the passion is attenuated or the attitude is blase, rather it is to say that neurotic desire is based on a limited and bounded goal or purpose, which when thwarted brings suffering, while conversely if rewarded brings temporary sukha (temporary pleasure). However boundless passion as in boundless love and compassion or boundless wisdom is extremely passionate. This occurs when the human being is connected with their true purpose in life; i.e., the evolutionary and creative force, where one is able to express their innate love and passion.

When the human being is aligned with their true evolutionary purpose in life, that is to say their evolutionary creative purpose in the context of primordial time, then that passion flows forth as pure love and wisdom. Everything else approached within this context is part of this sacred orchestration. That which occurs fragmented outside of this context is neurotic and fragmented, bounded and limited. This is why tapas (as passion), swadhyaya (self study), isvara pranidhana (surrender to our highest evolutionary potential) are put together at the beginning of chapter two as kriya yoga. As stated in II1-2, ignorance is attenuated when the passion based on the true nature of self rooted in our essential nature is focused upon our highest evolutionary/creative potential in life. This is a transpersonal and non-dual alignment with our true purpose which naturally is inspires, brings forth joy, and fulfillment when it is acknowledged (through swadhyaya), and allowed expression. Passion as divine compassion comes from openness, sensitivity, and a sense of intimate connection with the web of all life and creation/evolution. It is a living flame and we are part of that flame as living candles or torches. Such goes beyond empathy -- knowledge of some one's suffering heart, but also penetrates to the core cause of their suffering -- ignorance (avidya).

"In the present context, we can say that those who have not learned to recognize the true nature of mind, ultimate bodhicitta, are only able to exchange themselves for other beings and to try to eliminate the suffering of others through prayer, visualization, and empathizing with others. However, if one knows how to recognize the true nature of mind, and mixes or merges the exchange of self and others with the recognition of mind nature, this is the best possible way to practice this exchange. The ultimate awakening of bodhicitta includes the realization that the true nature of all living beings is utterly free from all the varieties of temporary, conceptual confusion that normally deludes them. In fact, all beings share the true nature of phenomena (dharmata), which is emptiness. All beings have awareness-wisdom (rigpa'i yeshe), the luminous clear light of the nature of reality. The true nature of all living beings is the expanse of primordial purity (kadag ying). This essence is present in all living beings, and it never leaves them, but they fail to recognize it. Recognizing it is the ultimate awakening of bodhicitta."

~HE Chogye Trichen Rinpoche

Over Consumption; Greed, Covetousness, Gluttony, and Addictive Disorders

The repressed and neurotic attempts to compensate for the break in the union with primordial consciousness through ersatz methods is insidious. The egoic mindset associates pleasure with an obtainment or ownership of an object. Similarly when pleasure is associated with an object, then continued association or re-association becomes has the possibility of becoming habitual. That can lead to addictive disorders, possessiveness, covetousness, avariciousness, greed, grasping (parigraha), gluttony, and over consumption. As has been noted above, possession of more objects and money in most cases increases one's anxiety and fear, as long as one's basic needs are met and exceeded to a moderate degree. The solution to these addictions and bad habits is not to restrain one's behavior in further repression, but rather to change one's mental imputations that say, that more is better. In fact more is most often the heavier burden.

Over-consumption, obesity, gluttony, hoarding, clutter, acquisitiveness, covetousness are a result of a spiritual disease. Their solution is not to be found by behavior modification, rather by removing the modifications of the mind (citta-vrtti) that have already taken place. The negative programming and conditioning have to be released and removed. The kleshas (obstructions) to pure consciousness and vision must be let go. Humans have to acknowledge and know their mother in order to know Self and abide in their true Self. The name for the great mother is Sri, Ma, or Shakti in India. For the Indigenous peoples Peru and Ecuador the Sacred Mother of all is called, Pachamama. They live in indigenous space and time -- in sacred presence -- in harmony with the innate intelligent evolutionary and creative power.

Plagues such as ecosystem plunder and destruction, habitat destruction, air pollution, water pollution, food pollution, and man's generation of a toxic environment certainly is both sociopathic is not psychopathic. Creating scarcity and disease is hardly productive or functional work. If life and integrity are valued (as good) then such activity is immoral and unvirtuous

In order to change the tendencies leading toward over consumption and over acquisition by a few shortsighted, sick, and greedy people, which in turn endanger the many while upsetting ecosystems and the well-being of all beings, requires first the acknowledgment of the underlying assumptions of need, deprivation, greed, and depravity in the first place by framing the malaise of such activities as a disconnect from Pachamama (from our innate alignment with our innate intelligent evolutionary/creative power). That is the first step in the transpersonal non-dual process of connecting up with the hologram -- in knowing our true nature. The opposite force is residing in the fragmented mindset of being apart from the hologram and All Our Relations. That separation leaves a scarcity consciousness where something is missing, hence a need to fill this gap is created. That dominant malaise of being ripped off since early childhood has been institutionalized and dominant in left brain hemisphere dominant cultures (in most technologically dominant societies).

In order to reveal the primary causes in this process more directly through this rephrasing we can connect cause and effect more with the hope of impacting those who are already deeply asleep – who may feel deprived "living" according to mental trancelike constructs of scarcity. In short over consuming and acquisitiveness has itself a more primary cause and all of us are suffering from that all over the planet.

Whether or not such a living framework of integrity would open the flood gate toward reestablishing that re-connection with Pachamama (and our innate creative intelligent evolutionary power) which actually brings more happiness, fulfillment, a deep felt sense of authentic self worth, as well as yet undreamt rewards, or not, remains to be seen. If human beings do awake to who they truly are subjectively and experientially in context with evolutionary power, nature, and living source, then of course we no longer will have a need to remediate or reverse the symptoms, because we would have become self-liberated by experiencing primary/primordial cause. Those who have awakened and have changed their own dream in alignment with this experience (true vision as knowing "self" in terms of evolution) are already more than willing to reduce their consumptive and acquisition loads as being inadequate and insufficient.

They may benefit further from guidance as to "how" to do so creatively or technically (one person's waste may be another's resource). But for others, (the many) who through inhibition, dissociation, and negative programming lack that desire/passion, there is the problem of "will", intent, sense of purpose, which the symposium does not address. Hence I suggest going away from the ideas which suggest sacrifice, negation, reduction, or restraint, which will conjure up images of even further deprivation, but rather emphasize true and lasting happiness – a full life aligned with purpose, meaning, love, and vision, hence naturally happy and self fulfilling.

Greed has many aspects, but in general it is scarcity consciousness. It is an ersatz need to replace a very deep need that is not being met on All Our Relations. Although this neurotic illness manifests in myriad ways, we can understand as a need as "more" as deep craving or chromic raga. On a more complex level this "more" becomes "more than" some one else or a competitor, hence elements of competition, rivalry, jealousy, asmita, and lack of self- worth and meaning in life can be mixed in together. However in all cases, happiness/pleasure is being sought through impulses of increased acquisitiveness, possessiveness, and schemes (sometimes very elaborate) of self gratification, comparative advantage, domination, control over others, status, clothing, pretense, privilege, and egoic game playing, rarely having any healthy or practical rewards. Nor do such neurotic mechanisms lead more than to neurotic (substitute) happiness. In short substitute desires lead to substitute/false happiness; however true desire to connect (yoga) leads to lasting and unconditional happiness. Authentic yoga leads to lasting and unconditional happiness/bliss. Hence a redirection of neurotic living, mental and energy patterns is accomplished through authentic and natural yoga.

Along those lines, studies have shown that the happiness quotient does not go up according to more wealth, acquisitions, or dependence upon dead material things that one may acquire, own, or identify with, rather "scarcity consciousness" it starts to go down after basic survival and security needs are met. This unhappiness no doubt has to do with fear of losing the things that have been acquired and the acquisitive person's ability to feel happy without these things, because they have been convinced that they need more "things" and/or need to hold on to them or their ability to obtain and keep more.. Trying to persuade or convince such people otherwise, who are caught up with scarcity consciousness and deprivation, is a difficult proposition because they are convinced that happiness is connected with the consumption or acquisition of more things. Of course this is due to a pre-existing feeling of separation and alienation – even more causal and primary they do not know "why" they want more -- why they crave in endless cycles of over consumption and acquisitiveness. As we have seen, such craving is fundamentally neurotic and contrived. It stems from the mental split from not feeling -- not consciously being an intimate part of Pachamama – an intimate part of natural wholistic systems, and aligned with the creative evolutionary process/power. It is a diversion, a dispossession dissociation, and corruption. It is the result of negative conditioning -- the repression of their primary passion and motive force – Pachamama. No "thing" can fill that great chasm in compensation, hence over consumption/acquisition as a dysfunctional temporary reaction which creates more problems and depravity than it solves. In order to eradicate the effect (over consumption and resource destruction), the cause has to be acknowledged and remediated by helping people understand where they are, how they got there, the nature of the split and their feelings of deprivation, the causes of their discontent and depravity (which manifest in desire, frustration,greed, over consumption, etc.), by how to reconnect in Awakening their dormant power of seeing and being – their innate visionary, creative, and evolutionary power. when the negative conditioning masked by the egoic mindset self deceit falls, so too will all false identifications and confusion. People will then again be able to see clearly and walk in a truly upright manner.

This false identification (egoic delusion) of separation (independence) from Source is the most stubborn and primary fixated habit to break.

"Carried along by the waves of the qualities darkened in his imagination, unstable, fickle, crippled, full of desires, vacillating, he enters into belief, believing I am he, this is mine, and he binds his self by his self as a bird with a net. Therefore a man, being possessed of will, imagination and belief, is a slave, but he who is the opposite is free. For this reason let a man stand free from will, imagination and belief. This is the sign of liberty, this is the path that leads to brahman, this is the opening of the door, and through it he will go to the other shore of darkness."

The Maitrayana Upanishad


While abiding in the natural healthy sphere one naturally moves toward unconditional liberation and is attracted to the light, love, beauty, and expansive state innately. We naturally move away from antipathy and aversion innately in alignment with the evolutionary power.. When we find ourselves in subliminal states or contrived mechanisms we practice kriya or astanga yoga in order to shift back into this alignment -- in order to free ourselves from the grip of ignorance and the kleshas. Especially helpful in diseases of raga is the practice of tapas, aparigraha, vairagya, and dhyana. Thus we give up attachment to these graspings of the mind, and learn to rest more often and naturally in an open receptive, peaceful, calm silence in pure awareness. Instead of coffee breaks, we take stillness/silence breaks. We can go to nature for this more often when possible, and we can meditate everyday and thus opening our mind to Primordial presence.

So, by recognizing and becoming familiar with this freedom mind in everyday life, we can observe/recognize when attachment comes up as to objects, events, situations, people, preferences and craving and, and by so doing, we can release its constriction/hold. But it is especially in the practice of dhyana (formless meditation) do we have the opportunity to observe the mindstream in its more subtle forms of attachments. Thoughts will be noticed to arise, and then we can let them go, realizing that vairagya (release) combined with conscious awareness is the first key element to master in meditation. Thoughts arise, then they are let go. They arise again, but then we become more adept at letting them go. Then we can observe the observer who is watching and rest in that light unceasingly. Eventually a calm and clear abiding sets in which contains just empty space and light. Learning how to abide in that luminous empty space of pure consciousness is the second blessing of meditation practice. Resting there in calm abiding in the vastness of timeless and formless space is recognized as the seat -- the fundamental basis of all. We integrate that pure vision increasingly through unsupported emptiness meditation practice in All Our Relations

"Don't go outside your house to see flowers.

My friend, don't bother with that excursion.

Inside your body there are flowers.

One flower has a thousand petals

That will do for a place to sit.

Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty.

Inside the body and out of it.

Before gardens and after gardens"

~ Kabir, translated by Robert Bly, in "The Kabir Book".


Unhappiness (duhkha) is the result when one is addicted (anusayi) to modalities of aversion and antipathy (dvesa)

II. 8. duhkhanusayi dvesah

Dvesa the association or anticipation of an event (past, present, or future) as being painful.


The dislike or fear of suffering is called dvesa


Dvesa (antipathy or repulsion) is the anticipation (anusayi) of pain (duhkha) and/or the expression of that association.


Repulsion, antipathy, or dislike (dvesa) occurs when the mind associates (anusayi) an event or object as painful, grievous, unhappy, or threatening (duhkha).


When the mind associates an external object or event with a pained or uncomfortable situation, then antipathy (dvesa) toward that object results.


Aversion, antipathy, repulsion, or negativity occurs as a desire to escape/dissociate from a perceived painful situation (the pain being created by the mind).


The affliction of antipathy/negativity (dvesa) occurs when the mindfield attaches itself to the confused idea that mental pain (duhkha) is external to the mind.


Aversion (dvesa) is triggered by events or phenomena that conjure mental pain or appears to be a threat to the ego (delusion).


Dvesa is the process of clinging onto (anusayi) antipathy and its repeated painful experiences (duhkha).


Chronic antipathy occurs when a the mind assigns a negative association to an object or event; hence pain is merely an assignment to an object of thought or assignation, designator, or label (anusayi) that clouds the true nature of reality.

Aversion occurs as a reactive mental state when a mental attachments, graspings, concepts, and egoic self ideations, or mentally contrived self identifications are challenged or threatened-- when clinging and/or desirous expectation are threatened.

duhkha: Symptoms of unhappiness, suffering, dis-ease, a sense of un-wellness, displeasure, discontent, discomfiture, grief, suffering, pain; mental/emotional discomfort, struggle, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, a perceived difficult or stressful situation, a sense of tension. The associated state of mind accompanied by aversion or antipathy. A grimaced state of mind. Also, but more subtly the state of mind created by craving the appearances of pleasure. Duhkha, as a painful symptom of a fragmented/egoic mindset, is the samsaric mind. Since samsara is in the mind, one may fairly equate duhkha as samsara. What creates samsara (duhkha) are the kleshas. The chief klesha is the positing of a separate self (atma or ego) which is ignorance, or more simply put unawareness of the true nature of mind. Asmita (ego sense), raga (craving), dvesa (aversion), and abhinivesa (fear of death) are also chief kleshas that cause duhkha. Dvesa is the most obvious reflection associated with the samsaric mind.

A mental attitude of dislike, discontent, angst, unease, pressure, annoyance, distress, sorrowful, shock, chagrin, fret, inflammation, bruised feelings, hurt, ruffled feathers, irritation, a sense of constriction, off-centeredness, upset, or a locked in feeling of chronic repugnance, disdain, enmity, or chronic complaint, etc. Duhkha, as unhappiness, or rather the lack of happiness, satisfaction, contentment, peace, fulfillment, completion, and integrity occurs when we are not residing in true vision, in primordial wisdom; when we are in non-recognition of the evolutionary power, sacred transpersonal intention and momentum, and divine will. This misalignment is duhkha (painful). Duhkha as suffering comes in many flavors and aspects, such as affective feelings of being overwhelmed, overloaded, shocked, traumatized, withdrawn, conflicted, depressed, an overt apathetic state, cynicism, nihilism, disturbed, distraught, in an ugly mood, knocked out, etc. In yoga psychology ordinary raga (craving) and pride (asmita) are causes of suffering (unhappiness), whose root obscuration is avidya (ignorance). Duhkha, therefore, is a result of an obscured state. One such an obscuration as above is defined as dvesa.

anusayi: An anticipation, expectation, or association with a result (in this sutra with an unpleasant result). In "duhkhanusayi dvesah", anusayi occurs when the path toward the object is conflated with the goal (repulsion/dislike of the object becomes associated with its possession). It occurs when displeasure/dislike accompanies or is associated with it attaining, obtaining, or possessing an object, event, result, or phenomena; hence a connection to the entire process is concomitant. The expectation or anticipation becomes repulsive and sometimes, declination, hatred/anger, and/or fear sets. Sometimes inhibition, withdrawal and an overall deadening/avoidance defensive/aggressive reaction is activated.

Any attachment process that closely accompanies or is associated with some object/event; a clinging toward; grasping, glomming onto, or dependence upon a goal oriented process or that which reminds one of such associations, be it pleasurable (sukha) or painful (duhkha). An associative dependence upon an outcome, result, event, or object or an associated aversion to such events, outcomes, results, or objects. Anusayi includes obsessive compulsive neurotic activity. The connection process that links the one who is craving or averse with an object of craving or aversion. An attachment/detachment (attraction/repulsion) process, which closely accompanies the imaged appearance or perception of an object, event, or circumstance. An association, anticipation, attraction, or fixation (promising "pleasure" in sutra I.7 as sukhanusayi raga; or a negative attraction/repulsion (promising duhkha as in duhkhanusayi dvesah) constitutes dvesa (aversion here in Sutra II.8).

dvesa: The dislike or anticipation of pain or suffering is called dvesa. Another way of saying that, is that the affective state of dislike or repulsion of an event, object, thing, phenomena, appearance or person, either lodged as a past impression or projected in the future, is defined as dvesa. That dislike is the cause of more discontent, unhappiness, and suffering, which often blurs the distinction between dvesa and duhkha. Dvesa is both a cause of unhappiness and a resultant unhappy state. Like attraction (raga), dvesa is repulsion -- a desire to avoid a phenomena. Both are based upon the dualistic split of asmita-klesha, where there is an observer and an object. A neutral position that is neither attraction or a desire to escape such phenomena, comes from a wisdom, not from an existential negation. It comes from realizing a co-creative interconnection. Hence, contemplation on suffering and its causes are important parts of yoga sadhana. Even more so, contemplation on happiness and the causes of true happiness, equanimity, compassion, and sympathetic joy are effective contemplations.

Dvesa is any form of reactive and negative thinking that is motivated by a negative stimulation -- a desire to move away from, avert, avoid, escape from, destroy, or demean that object/event or one's association (anusayi) with it. Dvesa on one level could also be called the desire to escape from suffering. In that sense, the desire for liberation (nirvana) from suffering (samsara) as well as renunciation, is klesha (dvesa-klesha) unless it is based on the innate spiritual passions (see vajra passion above in the previous sutra). Ultimately when the kleshas are attenuated (II.1 and II.2) then the innate true self (bodhimind) will shine through as the pathways for the innate wisdom motivation becomes purified, opened, and strengthened through authentic yogic practice.

In general mental nausea, repulsion, revulsion, antipathy, repugnance, distaste, aversion, derision, displeasure, a negative connotation, fear, terror, resentment, dislike, hatred, anger, enmity, rancor, loathing, bitterness, dismay, disgust, opposition towards, contempt, vituperation, vilification, hostility, resentment, animosity, superciliousness, snideness, snarkiness, intentional rudeness, meanness, denunciation, castigation, disparagement, disdain, scorn, abhorrence, shock, disbelief, contrariness, antagonism, revulsion, avoidance, procrastination, or escape from (such as in fright, flight, or fight reactions), withdrawal, intimidation, a desire to isolate or separate, denial, ignorance (verb), desire to forget, erase from memory/recall, block acknowledgement, unconsciously filter out data, ignore reality, desensitivity, bland indifference, to dissociate as in apathy, nihilism, cynicism, paranoia, acedia, sloth, languor, to escape into servility or complacency, passivity, escapism, avoidance, blindness, the act of emotional numbness and mechanical/robotic like behavior devoid of feelings, to go to sleep, shock, dismay, shocked disbelief, daydream, entering into a trance or swoon, to reflexively block out or not hear data, the mechanism that creates fanciful delusions, self deceit mechanisms, and fantasy are variations of dvesa. Many kleshas such as dvesa are mixed (combinations) with other kleshas, such as jealousy as a mixture of raga, dvesa, and asmita.

On a gross level dvesa combines with asmita or raga and manifests as covetousness, plunder, rape, thievery, predation, power mongering, exploitation , obsessive scarcity consciousness, competitiveness, himsa (violence), asatya (untruth), asteya (dishonesty), over indulgence, over consumption, avarice, envy, invidiousness, spite, competition, rivalry, possessiveness, hoarding, and addiction. On an even more perverse level jealousy taken to extremes goes beyond mere derision, scorn, and condemnation in, schadenfreude (enjoyment taken from the misfortune of others), sadism, torture, morose delectation, etc.

How is indifference or numbness translated from "dvesa", one may ask? It is dvesa because it is aversion, it being an act of avoidance or an escape from something -- as a desire or escape from "pain" by numbing out feelings (desensitization) and insularity. Indifference is utter contempt, avoidance, non-recognition, ignorance, and prideful arrogance all rolled up as one. When we are present, we are open and accepting -- all inclusive in Now Awareness. Then powerful positive natural emotions can spontaneously arise, such as love, sympathetic joy, happiness, compassion, inspiration, exaltation, boundless enthusiasm, santosha, cheerfulness, etc. These latter are positive emotive forces that result naturally from a fearless open mind and heart, while dvesa is a contraction and numbing out from presence. (Eternal Now awareness).

Dvesa encompasses anger, dissatisfaction, disdain, chronic repugnance, enmity, chronic complaint, loathing, schadenfreude (enjoyment taken from the misfortune of others), sadism, torture, morose delectation, resistance or frustration (pratigha), perverse pleasures or obsessions such as necrophilia, sadism, masochism, misandry, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, nationalism, bigotry, prejudice, censure, vindictiveness, dismissiveness, rage, disdain, haughtiness, angst, blame, censoriousness, condemnation, contempt, derision, ridicule, mockery, denunciation, cutting satire, abhorrence, insecurity, inhibition, intimidation, cowardice, withdrawal, extreme passivity, catatonia, nihilism, listlessness, extreme cynicism, boredom, disassociation, catatonia, paranoia, violence and cruel intent toward others, abuse, revenge, desire to harm others, exploitation of others, oppression, sadism, necrophilia, patronage, condescension, disparagement, demonization, disapprobation, dismay, horrified, being aghast, shocked, or any similar similar type of negative reaction such as revulsion, dislike, resistance (as in frustrated desire -- pratigha), or hatred when mixed with other kleshas are further examples. Dvesa is the modality behind the growl, wince. anger, scowl, evil eye, etc. Varieties of dvesa are any negative (painful) associations with an object, event, stimulus, or phenomena, or perceived appearance; while a positive (pleasurable) association is named raga. The common context between the two is the samsaric mindset/context of an assumed separate self (ignorance); i.e., both raga and dvesa are based on a dualistic separation, based on asmita, are neurotic substitutes for true and lasting happiness, and are causes for future duhkha (unhappiness). After aversion (fear, hatred, anger, jealousy) has taken hold then there can be secondary reactions such as casting aspersions, condemnation of others, pejorative speech, aggression, violence, and other such correlated pathologies.

Dvesa is widely epidemic and insidious in the Kali Yuga, as is raga. For example, a frequent modern phenomena that is quite common in arrogant/prideful societies is an antipathy which is the result of an interpretation by the egoic mindset (asmita) which creates mortification, shame, wounded pride, a sense of invalidation, helplessness, lack of self worth, or humiliation. Instead of acknowledging one's feelings and condition, a reactionary defensive/aggressive desire is provoked to defend/'justify the ego (guilt) by a desire to destroy, condemn, dismiss, ridicule. or ignore the the messenger, hence the message is chronically ignored. Blaming the messenger is one way for the ego to remain in ignorance,but it merely the ego's vain attempt to avoid mental pain, shame, blame, or hurt. Wounded and insecure egoic beings are the rule in materialistic societies, rather than the exception. These many permutations of the obscurations of dvesa are mixed together and often masked by mechanisms of asmita as self deceit/conceit, pride, and aloofness. They are widely insulated against, hence asmita-klesha is strengthened by dvesa-klesha, thus strengthening avidya-klesha. These and many other dysfunctional mechanisms are based on negative associations of the dualistic egoic mind toward objects of its mindfield, its mental contents (pratyaya), or phenomena resist liberation. Negative associations have negative results; they feed the cycle of mental suffering (samsara). That cycle is broken asunder by authentic yogic practices.

Commentary: Simply or literally translated as, an association (anusayi) made painful (duhkha) serves as a basic definition of the mental affliction (klesha) called dvesa (aversion). On an affective base level, dvesa is the wince or grimace (subtle or gross) of an apparently painful experience. It can be considered as the growl of a cornered or threatened animal (an analogy of the desire of the ego to survive).

As we have already stated dvesa is another aspect of raga, or one could say that raga is another aspect of dvesa. As raga (craving) is the anticipation of an externalized state of pleasure (sukha); dvesa (antipathy) is the anticipation (anusayi) of a painful state (duhkha). Raga is the "like" of some event or happening, while dvesa is dislike. Both are anticipations taking the subject outside one's innate happiness and wisdom, both are dualistic errors based on avidya and asmita, and both are incapable of bringing forth lasting happiness/fulfillment or sense of completion/integration. This sense of wholeness happens outside of sequential time and inside of indigenous-now time. Waking up entails the realization that all and everything that is needed is already happening now, underlying the mind smog. "What's the haps, man? It's happenin!"

Thus, dvesa is simply attachment or desire (similar to raga) for some thing or event NOT to happen. In short, it is based on a preference for the opposite thing to outcome or event to occur (and hence a form of desire). In this way, dislike is based on liking something else more; i.e., it is based on like/desire or preference. Where raga is based on attraction or affinity, similarly dvesa is as well, but the situation is stated in the negative, as an opposition, or repulsion/revulsion; "I don't like 'that', because I prefer 'this'". Often we mistake the object or event as painful, but really it is merely in the mind associations and beliefs that create and hold the pain. Just like happiness, pain is all created in the mind.

To be absolutely clear, the resolution of either raga/dvesa is not a neutral indifference. Indifference is merely another form of dvesa, escape, denial, numbness, a neutral meaningless association, a dissociation, or simply ignorance. Rather, the remediation of raga/dvesa is the cessation of ignorance (avidya) and all obscurations (the kleshas) that occlude pure vision. Pure vision is anything but indifference. Indifference is merely another form of withdrawal, antipathy, or aversion. Further, the resolution thus is not further antipathy, aversion, negation, escape, ignoring, denial, disbelief, or renunciation of the world, but rather, a profound non-dual shift of consciousness that is uncontrived, unconditioned, transconceptual, and based on vidya (an all inclusive vision), not avidya (a limited view).

Dvesa, like the other kleshas, are reactive samsaric states of mind involving objects of the mind-field (such as an external stimuli, phenomena, events, people, etc.) which are construed by the mind and framed within a conflictive relationship evoking antipathy or aversion. Phenomena or objects appear to come from an externalized sense world such as conceptual based imputations of phenomena; or it can arise from memory such as past samskaras; or it can come from conceptualization and worry about future events known or generalized (unknown), etc. But it is the ordinary fragmented mind that orders it into a meaningful but limited frame (right or wrong). The subject/object dualistic mindset (consisting of an observing mind and that which is observed) triggers reactive tendencies which further skews reality and obscures pure vision, thus creating a misalignment with the evolutionary power (or divine will, if you will). This distortion which stems from an inner confusion, confliction, and resistance stemming from the primary blockage/impediment of the evolutionary power is called duhkha or suffering.

There, one is cut off from their creative well springs and source of wellness/joy in lieu of abiding in a compensatory, but inadequate, shell of scarcity consciousness, lack, conflict, strife, anxiety, and turmoil. Dvesa is of course a secondary klesha built upon the more primary dualistic egoic split (asmita) and avidya (loss of the primal vision of clarity). So it should be very clear that when we define dvesa as an affliction (klesha), it does not mean that people should become passive, withdrawn inhibited, or indifferent; rather, instead of obscuring the evolutionary life force from a compulsive-reactive state, one should remain creatively empowered embodying its expression -- acknowledging and reflecting it.

Where raga (craving) is accompanied by an ersatz`desire for happiness and anticipation of pleasure, dvesa (aversion) similarly, is accompanied by an anticipation of something unwanted, painful, disliked, negative, or disagreeable. Both are based on unhappiness -- a need for gratification or the fear of losing an object -- a preference (positive/attraction or negative/repulsion) and anticipation/expectation and are entirely mental states just as mental happiness or mental suffering is entirely mental. Both take the victim out of the present into the future because of past associations. On the other hand, creative activity is based on pure vision -- vidya.

Sometimes like raga, where one associates/identifies (anusayi) the act of craving with the attainment of pleasure; the difference between raga and dvesa (aversion) and its result (suffering) is often blurred; because one associates (anusayi) the process (aversion) with the result (as pain). Pain occurs when the messenger is confused as being the message. Thus, the negative association itself becomes confused as painful. That which can be referred to as the viagra syndrome occurs, where the act of craving is associated with its attainment (orgasmic pleasure); yet the craving is not its fulfillment.

For example, craving a big meal may be associated with the pleasure of eating that meal, but really the craving itself is suffering, while its satiation is merely its temporary assuagement. Similarly, the negative expectation (disappointment) of not having an expected chocolate ice cream dessert, itself creates mental pain or trauma even though it is merely an expectation based on a future possibility -- a manufactured thought process by the confused egoic mind. Here, the real message is not "pain" per se, it never is. There is a deeper message, like there is something unpleasant happening, undesirable, or "bad", but what is it really? The mind may label it as pain, but that is superficial. If we face the message back to its source, we become aware of something deeper. Consciousness receives the message fully. Moving consciousness into any "point of pain" (regardless if it appears to be only physical or mental), liberates us from the superficial label,. It also liberates us from reflexive fight, flight, or fix mechanisms, rather the natural light of consciousness permeates remains victorious unimpeded. There is no limitation/impediment (klesha) placed upon pure awareness (cit or vidya). That way there is no dissociation, avoidance, escapism, fear, ignorance, or denial involved. Hence, cit or cit-shakti act as tremendous healers as one shines the light of consciousness upon all situations free from the need of reactive/neurotic programmed mechanisms. As consciousness expands, so does liberation.

Generally or normally, human beings crave pleasure and run away from pain, unless we are masochists, or do we? rather human confusion, delusion, and self deceit can appear quite complicated and convoluted. Indeed it seems rather ignorant to cling onto painful experiences or suffering, but that is exactly what most people do. Why, because there is already a pre-existing lack of intensity, lack of feeling, and lack of meaning -- a neurotic inner emptiness of the heart that triggers neurotic compensatory desire, but that burning avenue of temporal/carnal desire can never be adequately fulfilled -- it will never provide lasting happiness. Rather it always ends in pain. The union that is being sought (because of being separated by conditions of spiritual self alienation), is samadhi which occurs when the yogi experiences his/her true self nature (swarupa) -- the Self in both its active and passive aspects. Otherwise the wellsprings of our evolutionary and creative (divine) willpower is being blocked and obfuscated (kleshas) with the result of many negative aberrations and suffering.

One of the major sources of confusion can be eliminated when we ask ourselves where the happiness or pain is located. It is of course located in the mind in the form of mental assignments, not in the external object. The egoic mind (I) sees an object and then associates (anusayi) the object with either pleasure, pain, or with indifference. These mental associations when blurred by impure vision (avidya) are incapable of discerning between the mental feeling/emotion and the object which triggers it. Thus the object itself is assigned to a category of being either painful (dvesa) or pleasurable.

In reality, there is no separate independent observer (an egoic "I" or asmita identity), but rather it is a fabrication of the conceptual mind. In reality, thus there is no separate object to grasp at or run away from -- to desire or to hate. Thus dvesa and raga are teachers. When they come up and are recognized, they can be liberated through awareness, rather than to be buried through ignorance or denial.

Dvesa colors the mindfield (citta-vrtti) and acting as a severe mental/emotional modifying condition such as in chronic fear, anger, hatred, revulsion, antipathy, disgust, despair, etc. As a negative mental habit and chronic knee jerk reaction to events it can be quite debilitating. Dvesa is triggered by past karmic residues and samskaras.

For example, Ms. Jones may observe that each time she sees a blue cadillac automobile, she becomes upset or angry. That was because she was severely injured physically by one when she was young. Seeing the blue cadillac brings up the residual painful memory of that past painful event. That recognition that she is pained by an object is the first step. Answering "why" only provides an intellectual logical analysis of the series of events. The causal primary causal factor is right in front of her staring her in the face, as the mental mechanism. Thus the blue cadillacs become her teacher. Every time she sees a blue cadillac is an opportunity to release the old habitual painful reflexive mechanism and to begin a new neural pathway devoid of dvesa and duhkha. That release will free her energy and awareness. It is concomitant with awakening her locked up/dormant cit-shakti.

So instead of intellectual analysis, in functional yoga, and especially in tantric yoga, one goes directly to the primary causal factor, the direct awareness remediating any residual mental patterning (citta-vrtti) that surrounds, occupies, or obscures consciousness in open awareness. Similarly that is how yoga psychology can work with any past unresolved trauma which still has left residual negative karmic traces.

As mentioned these objects, events, stimuli, phenomena, etc., which trip the mind are all secondary, while the process of consciousness is more primary. Finally through open awareness, we clear out these negative feedback loops and have direct, clear, unimpeded, and continuous access to the big unobscured open mind itself as primary cause, or at least that light shines through our daily lives increasingly.

So here it is helpful once again to discern primary causes from secondary causes. Mental pain may come from anticipation, associative thinking, or connection with an object or event that we may unconsciously dislike, but really that neural mechanism is a thought process with its resultant neural circuitry which lead to or is associated with the more primary and causal mechanism. That mechanism can be consciously addressed, recognized, and deprogrammed through first recognizing it in awareness and then releasing it. This is done through functional/authentic yogic practices (such as astanga yoga). There exist many yogic practices that do that such as daily swadhyaya, mindfulness, meditation (dhyana), an awareness based asana practice, as we will see. In advanced yoga, the yogi works directly with their inner neural networks and psychic circuitry.

When our ability to process what-is-as-it-is becomes overwhelmed, overloaded, or unbearable for what ever reason, it is said that our pain threshold is reached hence provoking an escape mechanism or a fight or flight mechanism (dvesa). These escape mechanisms of overload are like short circuits. They can manifest as denial, disbelief, numbness (emotional or physical), withdrawal, habitual ignoring, denial, arrogance, aloofness, indifference, prideful disdain of others, escapism, avoidance, aggression, blame, scorn, anger, schizoid behavior, and many more impediments to pure vision.

These kleshas (as impediments to the light of true happiness) once recognized, can be easily augment the five citta-vrtti (belief systems, conceptual thought processes, fancies, preferences, false and limited assumptions, unprocessed memories, dullness of the mind, and so on). As the citta-vrtti are associated with the kleshas, so too are the kleshas associated with past conditioning and impressions (samskaras), karmic propensities, vasana (habitual tendencies), and the wheel of samsara (suffering). In tantra we use the external stimuli, event, sense object, or person that triggers a klesha so e can work with that process consciously in order to liberate/release it. This is also the secret of the effective use of asana as a practice to release and purify the negative neural circuits arranged around duhkha and other kleshas, and then open and strengthen them, finally creating a more direct and open pathway with infinite spirit. In meditation and dream yoga, these objects and associations come up more subtly devoid of the present time stimuli of sense objects, phenomena, or real time events. In that sense it is more subtle and hence potentially more powerful practice in spiritual transformation

Aversion addiction is one of many avenues which the kleshas block pure vidya (pure unobstructed .awareness (spiritual vision). Because vidya is innate the way the kleshas are imposed is from negative conditioning of the mind-field (citta-vrtti). For example mostly the this negative programming is is accomplished via repression of divine will and innate awareness by institutional forces of avidya (ignorance) such as when a religious leader, parent, esteemed teacher, conventional wisdom, peer pressure, or authority figure contradicts one's own innate wisdom or intuition. This disease is especially prevalent in materialistic and degenerate societies and nations. The victim then may adopt these negative censure through projection mechanisms and then superimpose them upon their own life as self criticism, repression, low sense of self esteem, self deprecation, etc where the contrived and conditioned superego denies one free reign or in some anti-hedonist or anti-life cultures even simple pleasures equating pain with good and pleasure with evil. Then the mentally painful associations that the superego imposes as emotional pain such as guilt, can easily become associated with any type of physical pleasure, while denial and control of natural instinct and intuition is associated as good (spiritual reward or pleasure). These types of schizoid relationships can appear to be complex in an anti-nature, anti-life, violent, materialistic, and militaristic culture. These contrived mental dramas and conceptualized relationships may appear complicated. Indeed confusion by definition is indeed complicated, but truth is not.

After aversion (fear, hatred, anger, jealousy) has become established, then there can be secondary reactions such as casting aspersions, condemnation of others, pejorative speech, defensiveness, aggression, violence, and other correlated pathologies can manifest out of basic dvesa. Yoga practice is designed to break up these negative and limited associations

Anger and Hatred as Disguised Fear: Barking Like a Dog

Anger and hatred are disguised fear. Simply, the analogy is a dog barking. It feels threatened; it feels it needs to protect its life, itself, its owner, or that the egoic mindset assumes that it is being invaded/attacked. Instead of retreating (inward or away), it springs into defensive attack.

With humans, we often hear that the best defense is a strong offense and/or we have to not only armor ourselves against potential attacks, but more so perform preemptive attacks; i.e., "get them before they get us".

In a highly competitive, aggressive, violent, and/or paranoid society, children are often trained at an early age how to defend themselves physically, psychically, socially and economically, all of which pertains to an image of ownership (ego) which may feel  threatened. Such defensive/aggressive behavior is often accrued over many years of conditioning which may include actual combat with other competitors so afflicted, so that one's character becomes compulsively defensive/aggressive. This unconscious protective mechanism is mostly unconscious and is often disguised as a state secret, in order to throw the ever-present enemy off. As elaborate artifice and deceptive mechanism are employed in the making of such "characters", the greater the character does not know oneself, the less the character is empowered to experience authentic love, openness, and vulnerability – the more the ego is deluded.

Particularly in situations of deep fear such as in life threatening situations, such as being a soldier on a battlefield, there appears no alternative other than to turn up the testosterone readying oneself for battle where "fight" rather than "flight" mechanisms are demanded. These mechanisms are not very different in similar social, political, economic, marital, or pivotal philosophical situations where one's egoic identity or ownership appears threatened. When this type of behavior becomes both chronic and unconscious, denial sets in, while the egoic mindset becomes stubbornly fixated and frozen in fearful reactivity. 

Fear is, of course, the result of desire, a preferred like, and attachment – nothing other than the fear of losing something; hence, the relationship between anger and greed, where the angry boss barks loudly in order to manipulate and exploit his troops toward a greater selfish outcome. This is a circular malaise where the greed, being due to a feeling of lack in the first place, creates an ever more compensatory replacement, which can never really substitute adequately for one's sense of spiritual lack -- lack of love. Jealousy and envy are the same, where one desires comparative advantage over another, as compensation due to their existing lack of meaning, self worth, sense of separation/alienation, and/or general inadequacy/inferiority. In fact, all such maladies are symptoms of human being's break apart from their primordial nature -- their conditioned estrangement, and ignorance of our true nature within the timeless context of evolution. In the context of yoga, the solution is always the same, the integration and free functioning of body, breath/energy, and mental processes. Mainly the best approach is to just practice. We can study the Yoga Sutras when we have specific questions, difficulties, obscurations, or lessons to focus upon, instead of barking like a dog. 

What is Aversion/Antipathy/Dislike?

"Similarly, repulsion (which is another phase of attraction) follows, abides in, and is just another term for, the erroneous classification of an object or experience as pain-giving. On the other hand, what the human mind in ignorance regards as attraction and repulsion exist in nature and are inherent, invariable and constant in the manifestation of cosmic intelligence (e.g., the magnetic polarity). In nature, however, there is neither the cloud of ignorance nor its consequent ego-sense, and hence the attraction and repulsion in nature are of an entirely different quality to that found in the human psyche."

Swami Venkatesananda

Dvesa (aversion/repulsion) is the opposite of raga (desire/attraction); yet, they are part of one process. For example a fear of failure is not much different from a driving desire for success. The very desire for success if held onto addictively will cause anxiety of failure. Desire (raga) by itself combined with anusaya (attachment/addiction) characterizes the suffering associated with aversion. Any resistance or frustration in achieving that desire (pratigha) is most often met with aversion. On a subtle level aversion (dvesa) is anything we dislike or avoid. This of course colors the mind and acts as a poison to the yogi. Of course dislike is impossible without "likes", desire, or preference. Such realization occurs on a very subtle level through the implementation of self awareness processes. Perhaps the word, nausea, is a good word for word translation for dvesa. Dvesa a large factor in turning away from the light of clear vision (vidya). Today, in the Kali Yuga, dvesa is widespread, as is raga, asmita, and avidya.

"It [aversion] expresses itself as censure, blame, or condemnation (ninda), and all of these terms make anger (krodha) and aversion [dvesa] synonymous. These synonyms truly express various connotations and depths of (and other emotions associated with) anger, that is aversion towards things and hate toward beings. It takes the form of seeing obstructions everywhere, by which one becomes excited and seeks to overcome them in a real or imagined context. It is done with the conscious or the unconscious desire to vanquish past pain and prevent future ones, together with the causes thereof that are seen as current obstructions. The mind's fixation upon these obstructions, pains, and their causes, and on the attempts to vanquish them becomes the first stage of anger. One censures and condemns all these with a vengeful desire to destroy them, even to a point of an anger that leads to violence, causing injury or hurt, and killing. All of these emotions are expressed by the word, dvesha, as juxtaposed to the attraction and attachment (raga) explained in the preceding sutra [II.7]."

Swami Veda Bharati , The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: with the Exposition of Vyasa, Volume II, Sadhana Pada. Motilal Benarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 2001.


Avoidance as Chronic Ignorance

On a coarse level, aversions become obvious as wisdom grows. We become increasingly aware of what we were ignoring as the more subtle conditioning mechanisms are recognized and shed. Ignorance (as unawareness), naturally dissolves over time in accordance with our growing awareness. Heightened sensitivity occurs when more subtle awareness of the kleshas occur. THEN more subtle and spontaneous awareness of joy, compassion, insight, creativity, evolution expresses itself, since the kleshas are no longer sapping our strength or diverting us. A special synergistic synchronicity with the entire universe and source us experienced, as the previous "inconceivable", "unimaginable", "unthinkable", and "unbelievable" are no longer limited and left as fragmented thought processes un-remembered within the realm of the citta-vrtta.

It might sound contradictory that our recognition/awareness of the kleshas (pain) is accompanied by greater bliss, but indeed this is true as we see its folly and release them (vairagya). Why? Because awareness liberates us. In order to become aware we do need also to be aware of all and everything in order to be absolutely clear. We can not selectively become aware of anything short of the whole as-it-is, if we want to truly awake and avoid delusion. As a matter of fact, such mechanisms of selective likes/dislikes (or preferences/predilection) are the strong glue that hold delusion in place. Hence, we must desire the truth over preference and illusion; illusion being the path to suffering and hell. Contrary to popular belief, illusion is bondage, not liberation -- it is the root of nihilistic tendencies, which is at the same time narcissistic.

Emotional reactive occurrences like nausea, horror, ugliness, revulsion, shock, disbelief, amnesia, and the like are often normal but dysfunctional reactions to what we do not like or do not prefer. We often call these "painful", but such reactions to numb them out. ignore them, block them out, or pretend that they do not exist is counterproductive. Perhaps they may seem like clever mind tricks, all they do is cause greater ignorance and illusion as they greatly delay waking up. The arising of feelings of nausea, revulsion, horror, distaste, and so on, are excellent clues for self contemplation or self awareness revealing our attachments/fears. Without self awareness there`is no waking up. For example if you have great pain on your foot because you stepped on a thorn, it would be stupid to ignore it and pretend that it did not exist. Rather, it would be wise to look at it clearly, and then find a way to remove it and treat the injury. Even those injuries which can not be treated, are best never ignored, rather their mechanism can simply no longer negatively effect us nor do they have to create a reactive mechanism of avoidance.

Whenever we are motivated by hatred, fear, anger, scorn, contempt, condemnation of others, revulsion, an ugly mood, displeasure, indeed why do we subject ourselves to it, one may ask if it were not due to a habitual clinging mechanism. Even repulsion, avoidance, revulsion, denial, aloofness, and numbness acknowledges the existence of something we judge as "painful" which the ego attempts to avoid. It is this activity of running away from something which also maintains the relationship with the "painful" object and our painful experience or anticipation of a painful experience When we exercise swadhyaya (self study) then we inquire when this mechanism is triggered, by what, and them discover how to disrupt the pattern of aversion (dvesa). It does not mean that the painful object goes away or disappears, but rather our attitude toward it changes; i.e., we no longer subject our citta-vrtti to the klesha of dvesa (dislike), hence the mind then is given an opportunity to open in a profound manner, instead of armoring around fear or protecting ourselves from pain. Closing down, contracting, or protecting "ourselves" from what the mind imputes as "pain" is a dysfunctional syndrome to break. Similarly seeking diversion/distraction (raga) is another similar avoidance reaction

Avoidance is often a very large habit and limiting factor that chronically holds back awareness, and hence authentic spiritual growth. In that sense, it serves as the glue that holds together the wheel of samsara. On an elementary level, avoidance can manifest as procrastination, where an unpleasant but necessary task is put off to the last moment or forgotten simply because one is running away from the ego's imputation of pain. Is it really painful or unpleasant? Only to the mental constructs that say that it is. The problem with procrastination is that the task has to be done regardless, so it is a way of self pretension by ignoring it (temporarily). The larger problem is that the unconscious mind knows that the task still has to get done and thus one undergoes needless anxiety for a prolonged period of time, as opposed to facing the task head on and getting it done in the beginning, thus relieving oneself from its burden..

But avoidance shows in more dysfunctional ways as denial. Since most people tend to desire to avoid pain, but by avoiding mental pain, "unpleasant" situations, or withdrawing from it, there is a tendency to chronically ignore such, block it out, numb it out, or forget it, as well as to make up stories around it, tendencies to ridicule it, as well as become obsessed with it. It is simply more self-deceit if the egoic mindset says to itself that, "if it doesn't exist (ignored) and only exists in my mind, then I will pretend that it doesn't exist and ignore it". That is the definition of ego-delusion (as self-deceit) and is of course very dysfunctional; yet many people suffer from it. In avoiding what is thought to be painful by the ego, one then seeks out what is thought to gratify the ego. Hence denial becomes an addiction to delusions that support one's sense of self conceit and arrogance (a static and illusory sense of "self" is fixated upon which resists change and healing) -- the delusion, self deceit, conceit, and pretension being more flattering and pleasurable to the ego, while ignoring, avoiding, discounting, or denying the lessons that the ego must learn in the ego's attempt for survival and dominance. Similarly all the citta-vrtta operate in this way when attempting to avoid pain, they create more pain as their mindset become overwhelmed by the kleshas and locked into limited awareness and modes of existence,

All obscurations and hindrances (kleshas) stemming from avoidance can become obsessive negative habits that are difficult to recognize because of the basic impulse to avoid or "not" recognize the pain. What eventually needs to be recognized is not the "pain" as such, but rather the mental mechanism behind the pain. Then the observer can release those reactive neural mechanisms and circuits which imprison the human being to the wheel of samsara (suffering). Release and liberation do not come from ignorance, but from wisdom. For example, in modern psychiatry today, mental or physical pain, anguish, discomfort mechanisms are treated by blocking the neural pathways to the brain. The system basically is numbed out and the patient no longer cares about "events" or situations. The consequences of such so called therapy can be very destructive, as the neural pathways are shut down, disconnected, and blocked rather than being opened and realigned in harmony with one's innate evolutionary and creative power. Such drug therapy is turning out generations of indifferent, numbed out, emotionally deficient and dissociated neural robots and morons who have been made distant from their heart.

In the ego's desperate attempt to numb out, avoid, and ignore what appears as unbearable pain, the ego grasps onto an escapist fantasy. The sensual stimuli or evidence that triggered the pain, that triggered the ignorance, that triggered the fantasy truly exists, although it may be misperceived. That evidence truly exists, in reality as-it-is, but the pain and aversion that triggered the escape mechanism was entirely fabricated and manufactured by the egoic mindset, which is fixated in dualistic delusions. This escape mechanism, triggered by aversion to discomfort/pain drives dysfunctional diversions such as TV, spectator sports, pornography, over-eating, other vicarious substitutions and compensatory distractions.

For example, smoking cigarettes or any other neurotic-compulsive activity is like that. Because of aversion (anticipation of pain or discomfort), one automatically (compulsively) undertakes another compensatory activity. This is how many habits become insidious and difficult to break, without applying effective psychological or yogic techniques.

To go deeper antipathy/aversion as the clinging onto pain and our continued confused associations with painful experiences, can be entirely remediated without reactive repression, avoidance, denial, or negation; but rather through acceptance -- facing the demon of our own mental assignations and associations with the so called painful object. Acceptance does not mean approval or disapproval of anything, but rather, it means recognition of the real situation as-it-is free from the reactionary mind set which because of attachment desires to label, blame, judge, disapprove, negate, dismiss, defend, etc. This is not simply a trick of the mind, but rather a waking up where the object is seen as it is without a "bad", ugly, or undesirable label or judgment laid upon it by the judgmental mind. Similarly, since we ascribe dislike (dvesa) to that which we associate with pain (duhkha-anusaya), we actually become victims and are controlled by our own fear and hatred. The burning question is of course why would we cause ourselves pain, misery, and suffering (duhkha) in the first place since even running away from pain (aversion itself) is painful. Herein lies the understanding which can be applied not only to dvesa but to raga or any other klesha as we shall learn the kleshas all bring about pain and misery because they predictably hold together asmita (the ego sense) whose root is ignorance -- or non-recognition of the true nature of our own mind.

Just as in the previous sutra the anticipation or attraction (raga) toward objects associated with pleasure (sukha) creates chronic craving (duhkha), similarly in this sutra the association between aversion and duhkha (pain) is even more obvious bringing forth chronic fear and dislike. Desiring or attachment to any "thing" necessarily implies a fear or losing "it" and hence a dislike of forces that threaten its existence or the ego's ownership (asmita).

In that regard, to be sure, nihilism, negation, avoidance, and extreme cynicism are not solutions, rather they are further examples of dvesa. Boredom and listlessness are also sure symptoms of the disease of dvesa. Just as nihilism is based on dvesa and hence ignorance, so too is eternalism based on raga, and also ignorance. Raga and dvesa thus are the two polar generators of samsaric mindset

This relationship becomes clear after practice in deeper meditation as we learn to release (vairagyabhyam) past mechanisms of mental conditioning. Without such associations the ego no longer identifies itself with any "thing" or as a "thing"by itself. Then true freedom is glimpsed, while illuminating itself as our natural unconditioned state. The mind is no longer wandering or searching in cycles of attraction nor repulsion, but rather has learned how to abide in deep and wide stillness and open awareness. This non-recognition is the meaning of "sarupyam" (at other times) in I.4 and the glue which holds the citta-vrtti (false identifications) together. These types of objective identifications form the basis of samprajnata (see I.17) and must be relaxed and let go. In asamprajnata samadhi (I.18) we are truly present and such assignations and labeling factors are absent.

"You will be free to let go of your unhappiness the moment you recognize it as unintelligent. Negativity is not intelligent" . . . pay close attention to negative thoughts, feelings or actions and any background unhappiness, including resentment, discontent, nervousness or being "fed up." Become alert to your negativity and repeat silently: "At this moment, I am creating suffering for myself."

Eckhart Tolle

Negation, repression, or suppression only buries the neurotic conflict deeper in an attempt to flee from it. Masochism is a subliminal or secondary neurotic activity which attempts to satisfy a feeling state by the titillation of already deadened or numbed pathways. When the neuroses and pain is driven far enough from consciousness, it merely arises in the unconscious often through tertiary compulsions which in most events are far more dysfunctional than the original repression/suppression.

The recoiling mechanisms of chronic indifference, boredom, complacency, apathy, zombie type behavior, extreme cynicism, nihilism, catatonia, disinterest, withdrawal, coldness, aloofness, arrogance, narrow-mindedness, shallowness, superficiality, inhibition, chronic intimidation, fear of thinking for oneself, aloofness, and such dissociative behavior are good indicators of the existence of a severe blockage, repression, or disconnect from some basic feelings. In extreme cases the pain of feeling anything becomes overwhelming and one becomes frightened and deadened to feeling anything or even chancing resurrecting the sensate state at all. Feelings of the heart thus become judged to be just as threatening to the ego which feels it must protect itself as if they were threatened by a physical attacker. The most common threats of course are fear of of sex, shame, sin,. or experiences associated with past painful memories. punishment, or ridicule of a badly bruised and fearful ego -- a contracted heart. Albeit the ego may feel that they are escaping pain, but they are also escaping life. They are dead inside. Their creative/evolutionary power is blocked or contracted. They suffer from arteriosclerosis of the nadis. See also the mechanisms of "PAIN", "The Fear of Living","AVOIDANCE", "Repression", "Fear of Pleasure", and "DENIAL".

Nihilism, Cynicism, Escapism, Denial, Avoidance, Other Worldliness, Religion, and Belief in Reincarnation are Other Forms of Aversion and Antipathy

In this way nihilism, extreme skepticism, and cynicism are other subsets of this same escapist mechanism of denial and avoidance. Healthy skepticism is excellent as it is essential not to believe in lies, deception, and false assumptions. All assumptions need to be questioned. Unhealthy skepticism says that nothing is true, everything is a lie, nothing is real, hence extreme skepticism leads to cynicism, paranoia, and nihilism. How do we know truly? Through yoga practice which leads to clarity of vision. A cynic is a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or altruism. It is a disinterested point of view, except for one's selfish gratification. A cynic insists that other beings and things" exist only to gratify oneself, hence true friendship is negated. A competitive society with competitive values, turns people into misanthropes, those  who hate or mistrust "humankind" in general. "Others" as well as nature are seen as competitors, objects of exploitation or control and hence an oxymoron is created; i.e., a sociopathic society, for profit disease care systems; self poisoning one's air, water, food, children, and one's own body.

Through nihilism and antipathy toward life, an antipathy to nature, natural function, self, the body, sexual function and all other natural functions is established. Not only is fear of pleasure established, but also hatred of pleasure and life, hatred of those who remind us of our hate (sexual objects for example), and hence misogyny and misandry also can result. Through nihilism and extreme cynicism, one can mistakenly thinks that one can excuse oneself from any responsibility, karma, or avoid guilt, because nothing exists except one's own desire. Escapist mechanisms based on denial and avoidance are contrived where one will die and go to heaven where a personal savior will come and take them away, or one will live happily ever after in some "otherly" world with an otherly alien god -- anywhere than here which has been judged as unreal. Such people live a life of avoiding responsibility, love, friendship, and reality, seeking instead to disown life, nature, response-ability, and its consequences in an attempt to find "happiness" through negation, fantasy, and self deceit. One fantasy is that a better life awaits one "elsewhere", perhaps in a future life. With that attitude toward reincarnation, one misses the information available to them in the sacred present, hence they chronically stay uninformed as to the depth and rich fulfillment that is available now.

What is Duhkha: Suffering or Simply Unhappiness?

Duhkha is defined at the myriad combinations and extensions of the five primary afflictive emotions, which in turn inhibit pure awareness (vidya). As stated, what is often masked as temporary ersatz happiness, is just another version of suffering; albeit the pain is often not apparent at the time. Such serves only to fool and distract the yogi from his/her prime directive; i.e., ultimate liberation. Ultimate liberation involves the defeat of ignorance (avidya); and hence, unhappiness/suffering is replaced by true and lasting happiness as an effect. Such a process is very different than a dualistic attempt to find happiness as an object or goal for egoic self satisfaction. In order to avoid confusion, it is better to translate duhkha as unhappiness, because if we translate it as suffering, then one may imagine that some "thing" like suffering truly exists. Rather it is only a lack of happiness -- a mental state of separation from the true nature of one's mind.

A sophisticated observer can not help to notice that everyone chooses their own poison.. well almost everyone. One man's poison is another man's medicine. One person may consider their addiction to opium, large meals, sexual obsession, alcohol over indulgence, or work as happiness or pleasurable (sukha) while another may label it an unfortunate addiction. Some people may consider a yogi living in a mountain cave, naked, and with no possessions to be suffering (duhkha), while the yogi may feel himself liberated and happy. So a large question is to inquire as to "what is suffering or unhappiness" as the answer is too often couched in terms of materialistic cultural values rather than in spiritual terms. The answer to that inquiry will become clear if we acknowledge the context of the Yoga Sutras is spiritual; i.e., it aims for unconditional liberation and unconditional happiness, and nothing short of that. Unhappiness or duhkha occurs when the consciousness is trapped inside the dualistic samsaric wheel, where the citta-vrtti is active. That is egoic consciousness, delusional consciousness, or avoidance/ignorance (avidya) of the state of true vision (primordial consciousness and evolutionary power). The blockage of that consciousness (Cit-Shakti) defines the state of suffering. It might or might not wind up acknowledged or diagnosed correctly by the sufferer. Denying or ignoring the disease of suffering of course is not the cure, yet an essential testament of the Yoga Sutras is that the disease of ignorance and suffering can be cured.

Both Patanjali and Buddha define the mental state of duhkha as the result of the kleshas whose primary cause is ignorance -- as samsaric and egoic consciousness. Every one of the kleshas afflictive, acknowledged or not. Like unhappiness, it is best to translate avidya as unawareness rather than risk reifying it as truly existing thing. Ignorance and suffering do not exist, rather they are the result of limited awareness and beingness. Duhkha is thus an obscured and impeded mental state characterized by unawareness (avidya) , confusion, asmita (ego), raga, dvesa, etc --samsaric existence being fueled by ignorance (avidya), the egoic mindset (asmita), attachment (raga), and aversion (dvesa) as we have been studying. Because one whose consciousness is ignorant and afflicted, then it is very difficult to see the cause (diagnose) their own malady. Ultimately the cause of mental pain and suffering is found to be an error of the mind itself. Realizing that truth (not just intellectually) but by realizing the true nature of one's mind, as swarupa-sunyam in samadhi (III.3) is the remedy. According to yoga, that is realized through yogic practices, not through conceptual thought processes.

With the above in mind, then on a more subtle level, pain is an indicator of samsaric involvement of the mind. It is not a thing in itself that exists independently. When I say that I experience pain, I am saying that I am feeling something is "wrong". It is a signal or message. However it is a great error to stop there, treat the symptom, alleviate or palliate it, numb it out, block the nerve passageways, choke off the nadis, dissociate from it, avoid it, fear it, or further anesthetize oneself as is the common treatment. Either becoming obsessed with it or attempting to escape from it, both are dvesa. Dvesa will only make the duhkha worse. The cure then, is to not stop there (with the mental assignment as being "painful", disliked, or bad to the sensation) --not to block the signal or dissociate from the discomfort, but to go deeper to the source of the signal -- to open up to the experience and not contract in fear or loathing by being even more fully present and aware.

So on this more subtle energetic level, we keep the nadis (psychic energy pathways) open and then realize the source of our discomfort, that we are sitting on an energetic artery, and we need to get up and stretch, or maybe the diaphragm is frozen and needs to expand, or the heart is racing, the jaw is tight, the adrenaline is over pumping, the acetylcholine levels are too high, the parasympathetic nervous system is suppressed, I am holding back, repressing, or suppressing my true feelings, my breath is erratic, I am holding my breath, I am angry or upset, this ar is toxic, my children do not love me, I am afraid that I will lose my job, and so forth. When we get to the end/source or core of the pain or primary discomfort (the citta-vrtti), then the pain will go away (as it is only an indicator/signpost of a more primary disturbance). We should use it as a signpost when it comes up and travel to the root/source by opening up to such, not by closing down, blocking the signals or running away from it in dvesa. Here the subtle yogic practices become powerful. Ultimately duhkha is due to the blockage of the evolutionary/creative power -- the our innate connection/union with primordial consciousness by the egoic mindset (asmita) based on the number one false assumption ( avidya), which has created the cosmic split/crack within the consciousness of so many humans. It is not necessary to know the "why" of it as the why is the past, rather recognize the effect in general. Recognizing the "how" of it, is better because the "how" reveals the process as it is operating. The "why" is the past, while the "how" is the present. Then we witness that how and through awareness laugh at the folly of unhappiness.

Both Dvesa and Raga Occur only Within the Subject/Object Dualistic Samsaric Mindset

So just as raga is chasing around compensatory temporary desires to fill in the cosmic crack/split from primordial consciousness, so too is dvesa the attempt to escape from the clutches of "suffering and pain". A common question beginners ask is, "Is not Yoga an escape from the world , an escape from suffering I(duhkha? Are not all religions avoidance of the things in 'this world'?" In regard to authentic yoga the answer is a resounding no, because authentic yoga is designed to open up the pathways, channels, and vehicles for evolutionary/creative energy to animate this very embodiment HERE and NOW. It is the opposite of escape. It is designed to live life fully and without affliction, encumbrances, inhibitions, limitation, or ignorance. It is granted, some interpretations of "yoga" and religion (such as samkhya and others who teach about a separate and alien god) as has been pointed out previously do teach dvesa (escape and antipathy) as part of the path. Among many things these same interpreters do not understand nirodha, tapas, brahmacharya, vairagya, and other vital yoga practices, rather they teach control, individual will power, conceptual prowess, and repression as a path. That path leads to increased bondage (samsara).

Dvesa occurs as the anticipation of pain or suffering to be avoided combined with the sense of ownership of that pain (asmita-dvesa), which remains as an unexamined assumption for most people. They say I feel pain or discomfort. "This or that hurts me", rather than to say that "my mind is hurting me". Then dislike or aversion to avoid or dissociate from that experience or person so associated becomes the repulsive motive factor as dvesa. Just as raga is the craving for "some thing", dvesa is the repulsive force to avoid another thing. The trigger does not have to be an object of the future, but also merely a past karmic trace, mentally painful memory, or any such past imprint (samskara) or association (anusayi) with a past event. This negative association with pain (anusayi-duhkha). If they say that "my mental associations made up by my mental habits is hurting me", then that can be the beginning of a learning experience - swadhyaya where the kleshas become attenuated and quelled, the nadis opened, and the creative/evolutionary energy flows through. In fact awakening opportunities in daily life are plentiful if we stay open and aware.

Dvesa also takes us out of the present (sacred presence). Like raga, it is a result of ignoring/non-recognition of sacred presence == not being HERE and NOW. Likewise as a result of this non-recognition (which is none other than avidya) the ego then experiencing dissatisfaction with the now, and interposes another associative outcome as avoidance, denial, escape, or negation. Duhkha brought about through dvesa is a bad reaction to what it, thus it is the result of a mental imputation. The good news then is that although the event of what-is can not be changed, the mental imputation can be changed.

On a mental level that which appears unpleasant to the ego, unbearable, threatening, or painful is commonly armored around, protected from, or defensively attacked. This aversion/antipathy can manifest as hatred, disgust, contempt, fear, anger, scorn, disdain, defensiveness, aggressiveness, arrogance, aloofness, and the like. The egoic mind *desires* something NOT to happen and hence desire (raga) and aversion (dvesa) are to be understood as two sides of the same coin.

Ultimately one realizes that pain or suffering is the result of non-recognition or ignorance of our innate intelligent creative power. Samsara is best understood from that perspective (happiness). The samsaric mindset is just that, not the world and not a "thing", but the result of a mental imputation. Neither happiness nor displeasure is found in an object, but rather is entirely mental. Mental pain and pleasure are thus entirely contrived by the mind and hence an unnecessary self-made burdens is established -- a bad habit of the egoic mindset. Temporal happiness (sukha) or unhappiness (duhkha) is not found outside the mind. However when the mental error which upholds the basic split of egoic ideation is broken asunder, then unconditional happiness and boundless light reigns illuminating and clarifying all that is as well as what is not.

Contemplation (dharana) on the relationship between dvesa as desire to avoid pain, and raga as desire to attain pleasure or gratification is very useful beginning practice, because it discloses how we define pleasure and pain. Contemplation between dvesa and duhkha is also most rewarding for those who have never questioned the happiness of a "two car garage, a good paying job, and a mortgaged home in the suburbs".

This relationship between dvesa and duhkha is always a two way street; i.e., if the egoic mind did not define something as painful or if it didn't find any situation as uncomfortable, then dvesa (repulsion/revulsion) would not arise. So pain (duhkha) creates aversion (dvesa) just as aversion creates more duhkha as suffering. Dvesa is based upon revulsion, it is nothing more than a negative preference, a negative attraction, or a dislike as contrasted with a positive preference, attraction, or liking.. As soon as we feel either raga or dvesa we leave NOW AWARENESS -- full pure and total NOW presence.

In Buddhism duhkha (suffering) is the first noble truth. It does not say that all of life is suffering, rather it states that egoic life based on raga and dvesa in regard to material objects brings forth suffering. Suffering exists and it is not wise at all to ignore it, numb it out, pretend that it does not exist, wish it away, deny it, nor negate it. Rather we must have the courage (nobility) to look suffering square in the face without aversion nor artifice. Then the suffering will no longer drive the wheel of samsara (cyclic existence built upon of suffering) once the engine which drives the cycle of attraction and repulsion are disconnected.

Like the other hindrances (kleshas) dvesa (repulsion, aversion, hatred, or fear) thus are based on the confusion that the possession of or the identification with specific objects or conditions, or their loss (fear), or the change of states from one false identification (seemingly secure) to another state will bring about pain or sorrow. This can be a sense object, like aversion to a loud noise or "bad' smell, touching a hot surface, etc., or due to a purely self induced mental dislike of the ego. Mental/emotional aversion is very often a supporting cause of ignorance where one's compensatory mechanism of pride is averse to hearing the truth about its delusion (haughty mask), or where one's fixated identification within a seemingly safe and secure framework of one's existing dualistic world view (citta-vrtti) appears "threatened" by an antagonistic truth -- where the ego views new information as a threat to the old identification/fixation of self (atman/asmita).

Eckhart Tolle says in Chapter two of his now classic: "The Power of Now":

The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.

The pain that you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind.

Why does the mind habitually deny or resist the Now? Because it cannot function and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.

Imagine the Earth devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. Would it still have a past and a future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The question "What time is it?" or "What's the date today?" - if anybody were there to ask it - would be quite meaningless. The oak tree or the eagle would be bemused by such a question. "What time?" they would ask. "Well, of course, it's now. The time is now. What else is there?"

Yes, we need the mind as well as time to function in this world, but there comes a point where they take over our lives, and this is where dysfunction, pain, and sorrow set in.

The mind, to ensure that it remains in control, seeks continuously to cover up the present moment with past and future, and so, as the vitality and infinite creative potential of Being, which is inseparable from the Now, becomes covered up by time, your true nature becomes obscured by the mind. An increasingly heavy burden of time has been accumulating in the human mind. All individuals are suffering under this burden, but they also keep adding to it every moment whenever they ignore or deny that precious moment or reduce it to a means of getting to some future moment, which only exists in the mind, never in actuality. The accumulation of time in the collective and individual human mind also holds a vast amount of residual pain from the past.

If you no longer want to create pain for yourself and others, if you no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in you, then don't create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation. Always say "yes" to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say "yes" to life - and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.

In summary dvesa is translated as antipathy, aversion, dislike, withdrawal, or repulsion -- an association is made by the mind with some thing one desires to avoid, dislikes, or fears. In general it may manifest as generalized hatred and fear and in general social antipathy such as found in the sociopath. Dvesa includes the mechanisms of anger, disdain, loathing, bigotry, prejudice, vindictiveness, scorn, rage, haughtiness, revulsion, dislike, fear, repulsion, jealousy, contempt, condemnation, repugnance, derision, ridicule, mockery, blame, denunciation, satire, abhorrence, revulsion, dismay, insecurity, inhibition, cowardice, withdrawal, extreme passivity, catatonia, nihilism, disassociation, paranoia, violence, cruelty, abuse, exploitation of others, sadism, patronage, condescension, disparagement, demonization, disapprobation, or any similar type of revulsion. Many kleshas are a combination of these 5 root kleshas, for example pomposity, arrogance, jealousy, and supremist bigotry are combinations of dvesa, asmita. and raga. Especially those who have become terrorized and severely abused may experience extreme numbness and dissociation fixations as well as chronic schizoid behavior patterns which are difficult to identify at first. The kleshas occur when the ego superimposes its desires (likes and dislikes) upon what is in the NOW.

The mental affliction of fear occurs when we are confronted by a message that the egoic mind associates (anusayi) with being painful (duhkha), or an event is associated`in the mind with a past trauma, or anything which appears threatening or painful to our ego's identification or "reality", which contradicts our sense of security or world view; or else appears as a threat to our identification with the small "self" -- something deemed threatening or dangerous to be avoided. In order to avoid, escape, deny, negate, or dissociate from the pain (of ego) in aversion, the ego often armors around it or else protects itself from its apparent threat through sometimes elaborate and complex mechanisms of aversion/repulsion, negation, denial, dissociation, justification, as well as aggressive (first strike) reactions such as generalized hatred. Thus the insecure egoic mindset (all egoic mindsets are inherently insecure) which maintains and protects its afflictive machinations (klesha) while at the same time reinforcing avidya.

Likewise when we dislike something, that is when we do not desire it to happen, we may say we hate or despise it. Many people use hatred to mask their fear or attenuate the discomfort of fear. However neither fear nor hatred really feels good,rather at best one can say that we feel. Aversion feels bad, and hence is more easily associated with duhkha when brought to our attention.

Dvesa is a dysfunctional way of disagreeing, overcoming, transcending, negating, overcoming, or dissociating with "phenomena or events" and registering our dislike or complaint, which again is the other side of raga (desire). Which is to say that we confuse the desire or aversion with its outcome (pleasure or pain), while the desire/aversion itself actually is in reality a craving (an anticipation), Hence the enjoyment and excitement of shopping for example. Raga and dvesa are always due to living outside the realm of sacred presence. Dhyana (meditation) is the best antidote for that.

Condemnation, disapproval, blame, censure, denunciation, enmity, blameworthy criticism, abhorrence, disgust, disdain, scorn, and the like are all statements of extreme displeasure and horridness -- a decision that a desired result has not been achieved and more so the undesired result has occurred. Such is merely an evaluation of the intellect and belief system based on good and bad (ethics and esthetics) and is thus both a vrtti and a klesha. Thus all the kleshas are creations of the dualistic mind and are illusory. Once they are seen for what they are, they then disappear. hatred is an aggressive compensatory adaptive way of coping with our pain, sorrow, and grief. As such it leads us even further astray feeding the illusion that we are not in reality in pain or in a grievous situation. Just like raga, aversion can manifest in many ways in daily life as it is the result of grasping also. More specifically, aversion and/or its combination mixed with the other kleshas manifest as hatred, contempt, extreme dislike, anger, abhorrence, disgust, distaste, rancor, derision, mockery, hostility, resentment, irritation, disapproval, condemnation, demonization, antipathy, repugnance, revulsion, haughtiness, disdain, overbearance, pomposity, scorn, arrogance, and the like.

The ordinary man dominated by dualistic thinking processes, lost in samsara as he is, too often clings to his shortsightedness, predilections, egoic self, hatreds, loathing, predilections, bias, blame, disapproval, condemnation of others, desires, pride and arrogance -- in short his many combinations of hindrances, afflictive emotions and obstructions (kleshas). Thus one not only is blocking out one's true nature, but most often creating more fuel to feed more bad karma. Many people have become conditioned to find their security and self worth (their "delusional reality) by being against an enemy or evil. This is why the Buddha said that dualistic "life is hard when we are attached to our ignorance, but very sweet (when sorrow ends) -- when we have realized the fruit of the path which is our birth rights -- of our latent innate seed wisdom (buddha-nature or true Christ potential) as we become the love and light that we have all been waiting for. Hence the inner demon of delusional thinking (Mara) which is created by the egoic mindset must be defeated.

Security and Insecurity Issues: (Raga or Dvesa or both?)

Security is a large business. Business goes up when people feel insecure. Government security costs American tax payers more than any other service. Such covers war, defense, intelligence, research, prisons, prosecution, homeland security, enforcement, and court costs at all levels of government. Private security corporations are on the rise in both foreign and domestic intelligence gathering as well as prison systems, professional private security police and para-military corporations, as well as the traditional security/alarm companies. This huge amplification in security is of course heightened by insecurity -- concerns over the safety of self and/or property.

In the United States currently we have the UN security council, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Agency, a large array of Spy Satellites, hundreds of foreign military bases, the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spend more money on defense, prisons, and "security" ten times over that of any other nation, yet Americans still do not feel secure. What are they afraid of? One thing for certain, ownership and consumerism does not point to happiness, as much as`fear.

There are two mental aspects to security. One is fear of being attacked, being imprisoned, enslaved, abused, exploited, and so forth. Even proactive defense being based on fear, can all be said to be based on dvesa (as aversion). The other mental aspect is raga and greed, where the motives are to keep what one already has or to gain advantage by exploiting the resources of others. For example most wars in history can be identified as being caused by rapacious aggressors intent on profit. Sometimes both sides were fighting over resources, power, and control -- wealth such as England's wars with Spain or France.or example the American Indian wars were based on exploitation of land and resources. So was the Spanish American war, the war on Panama, the first Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, the second Iraq war, and so on. Some wars could be classified as purely defensive on one side, while always there is some thing to gain (desire and greed) and something to lose (dvesa) always involved either both or at least one. In fact as we have shown raga and dvesa are really two sides of the same dynamo which drives the wheel of samsara. SAt its root is ignorance (avidya), the inability for nations and people to live in harmony with the evolutionary life force -- to honor and respect it. Rather war and all other "security" concerns are due to lack -- to separation from that pure primordial vision (vidya). War and conflict is based on inner conflict, unresolved inner wars and dualities which cloud pure vision and thus prevent its expression. What is expressed instead is the fear, greed, desire, antipathy, prejudice, intolerance and hatred (raga/dvesa) which are merely an acting out (externalization) of one's inner demons (maras) projected upon "the world". What is revealing is to successfully inquire as to the reason why there is such a widespread national mental epidemic of denial of what is otherwise obvious to outside world observers. In general arrogance, pride, self deceit, conceit, and delusion reinforce this ignorance. This denial and ignorance of the evolutionary life force becomes even more pronounced when we consider the widespread poisoning and destruction by human beings of their own, water, air, food supplies, bodies, and sustainable habitat.

Rather the yogi inquires why in the first place one is afraid, is greedy, attached to views or things, hateful, angry, and violent and how does that happen? Then those primary causes are eliminated. Then the yogi reflects/expresses their connection according to the intensity of their intention.

Aversion to Aversion

A negative feedback loop is not uncommon when people become averse to aversion, become afraid of fear, indifferent to indifference, deny being in denial, hate hatred, attempt to escape or avoid situations that they fear, hate themselves for hating themselves, and so forth. For example, there might be an upcoming situation or event that I am afraid of. I become afraid of even thinking about it or being reminded of the situation or event, or anything else that is associated with it. I start to worry about it, become nervous and upset, have nightmares about it, and experience a general malaise of dread or even depression. I may even become depressed that I am depressed or sad because I am sad, or hate myself for hating myself, and so forth. All of that weakens my nervous system and my ability to face the situation. Weakened and in dread, I fear the event even more. Obsessing any further might cause a panic attack or nervous breakdown.

That type of negative obsession over an event or situation can also occur in relation to a past experience which was very painful, traumatic, or which produced overwhelming anxiety. Here again I may have ongoing nightmares about that and carry that fear on into the future. For example in self awareness (swadhyaya) or sitting meditation (dhyana) sometimes we will become aware of a dysfunctional kleshic/karmic mechanism which may show up as aversion. In that case, having more aversion or self blame over discovering the existence of an aversion mechanism will only feed an endless downward spiral until the observer recognizes that the mechanisms of blame, condemnation, guilt, and shame are inexpedient and counterproductive. Such is the opposite of taking "response-ability" for our actions, speech, and thoughts as a pure channel for expression of the evolutionary power and primordial consciousness.

In any event, this samsaric cyclic mechanism fed by raga/dvesa is counterproductive, dysfunctional, and needs to be broken asunder. Although the introduction of remedial thought processes like positive or wishful thinking may be temporarily appear to be helpful, it is more helpful to the release the mechanisms of old samsaric/kleshic thought patterns as they are recognized (self awareness) by releasing them immediately. Utilizing yogic practices aimed directly at aggressively clearing out stuck energy, while opening us up to discovering our innate and latent energy will work far more deeply on activating a deep core lasting change. Such practices such as found in kriya and astanga yoga will have rapid positive results and are far more effective than working merely on the mental or conceptual level.

Observation as in watching the mental processes may help in recognizing the mechanics of the cause and effect relationships that are involved, but it will be effective yogic practices which will be capable of rapidly clearing the psycho-energetic mechanism completely, reestablishing a positive feedback loop and connection with body, breath, mind, and spirit which will displace the negative feedback loop. In short it is not necessary to figure out with the intellect all the causes of the kleshas (asmita, raga, dvesa, etc., but just to know humbly that they stem from ignorance (avidya) and the egoic split from Self, hence such a rend is healed by reconnecting with clear primordial vision, through the vehicles of integration -- integration of body, breath, speech, and spirit -- balancing and harmonizing heaven and earth through our very expression. There is so much suffering (duhkha) -- so much human ignorance and confusion -- so much arrogance, pride, self deceit, and egoic delusion, yet in the realm governed by the evolutionary power and primordial consciousness, all that is mere illusory-- in comparison it is an insubstantial hallucination -- a nightmarish dream. When we are called upon to love, then we must obey. That is how kriya yoga remediates the kleshas through supreme devotion.

The Fear of Pleasure, Self Perpetuating Denial, Masochism and Sadism

As we have seen pain and suffering can become an addictive obsession. It can give us purpose and meaning especially when we identify as a victim. It thus helps hold the egoic mindset (asmita) together around an identifiable and predictable predicament (suffering) or oppression. In that way that predictability brings solace -- a ersatz sense of security and belonging. Indeed samsara is addictive because the egoic mindset has become obsessed with the citta-vrttis. Again liberation is not the negation or demonization of the world or nature -- it is not in aversion to life, but rather of the liberation of the citta-vrtti. When we learn to OPEN our mind, then the path and vision is clarified.

Dvesa creates more bondage to the wheel of suffering (samsara), but also painful past experiences also cause more aversion. Both together make the samsaric wheel difficult to pierce. The method is not to escape this, but to understand how our own mind has created it and then self liberate.. Just as aversion causes more suffering and dissatisfaction (reinforcing the cycle of samsaric existence and negative karma) so too do past painful associations cause even more aversion. Similarly, events, things, sounds, sights, tastes, smells, people, tones, hues, clothing, and so forth which remind us of past painful experiences can trigger fear, aversion, and the re-experiencing of that pain (or fear of re-experiencing it). Of course the events or stimuli are not the pain, rather the pain is imputed by the mind onto the external objects, event, or people via the obscuration of past associations, but because this happens mostly reflexively (unconsciously), the event itself may appear as a threat. This is mechanism is involved in the construction of post traumatic stress disorders.

These negative emotions (fear, pain, terror, overwhelm) associated around past painful experiences may become exploited by others who would manipulate others. Many people become facile demagogues, manipulators, tricksters, predators, power mongers, illusionists, and sadists because they themselves have become spiritually self alienated and victimized. When ignorance and suffering become chronic schadenfreude (enjoyment taken from the misfortune of others), sadism, torture, morose delectation, and unrequited harm are unleashed upon other beings as enjoyment. It is not a large leap from the delight and glee of vicariously watching a gladiator die in a stadium, a bull fighter killing a bull, a football or a soccer player being beaten bloody and the actual perpetuation of organized murder, war, genocide, or ecocide as it satisfies the same inner perverted desire that stems from the more primary repression of one's own originally positive life instincts which have become brutally masked over by pain and/or shame.

In the preceding sutra commentary on asmita and raga, we described how some kleshas manifest as in many victims as a fear of pleasure and the self denial of pleasure and happiness. Parallel to the fear of happiness is the fear of living. In short they find comfort in displeasure... pleasure in pain. In that sense the line between raga and dvesa as well as between sukha (pleasure) and pain (duhkha) appear to become blurred or confused. Certainly to the confused mind (avidya) that is so; however there is a cause and effect relationship to all suffering which can be released through effective yogic practice.

For example once an infant is punished for feeling, expressing their own feelings, or freely expressing their own views or opinions in an authoritarian environment governed by authoritarian parents, not only fear of accessing one's feeling is established, but the very mechanism of accessing those feelings are associated with pain, punishment. guilt, shame, unworthiness, and often evil. One becomes driven to associate and identify with an external "good" or purity and gloms onto that objective structure as reality with great tenacity (a fear often mistaken as passion). Here the fear of punishment and/or the approval of authority provides more security and comfort than one's own natural or primary sensitivities or feelings. In that sense they have had their own sense of self authority successfully beaten out of them.

So the mechanism as a fear of pleasure or even getting in touch with one's own feeling can be programmed at in early age, while being replaced by an ersatz desire to conform, obey, be protected, and accepted by a world which will love and accept one, albeit the modified, adopted, and artificial "one". This can become an unconscious habit of self imposed masochism -- as a chronic repressive mechanism which includes punishment for having thoughts of pleasure (beating it out of one so to speak) either physically or in the sense of exorcism (using pain as the associated negative motivator). In either case such negative conditioning produces an underlying assumption that deep inside human beings lurks evil (or original sin), while salvation is in denying it (one' e feelings)..

This is not uncommon in radical fundamentalist religious conditioning where children have become trained to fear their innate feelings (such as sexuality, the animal nature, their alliance with nature and natural systems, or anything else that contradicts their belief system. Hence one's innate awareness and ability for critical and creative thought processes remain suspect and feared because such mechanisms may contradict their parents, their support groups, egoic protection mechanisms, church, religion, social norms, peers, or mechanisms of censure or constructs of superego ideals (adopted board of censors or judges). This holds true in any externally oriented authoritarian system here the purpose is to strip the human being of their innate sensitivities and feelings, while enslaving them to the system, belief, party, club, nation, religion, race, or organization..The act of disobeying such external authorities often becomes "unthinkable", rather it has become condemned and subject to punishment (bad). Such people would be considered "bad" if they desire such pleasures, claim such feelings, or knowledge. Hence such behavior is relegated as being unthinkable, and hence their evolutionary potential as human beings in alignment with life force and the living systems becomes discarded. Simultaneously those "others" who indulge in pleasure and this life, thus are determined to be bad, and are condemned, demonized, and often hated or attacked. A system of morals is thus constructed that is utterly devoid of honoring life and one's innate feelings. In such a citta-vrtti rife with pramana, vikalpa, and delusion the mindset becomes a "complex" mechanism because delusion, self deceit, and denial are actively involved, mechanisms of denial and withdrawal are strengthened, and intuitive wisdom and instinct are actively avoided and ignored.

In short, a rather large predicament is created when one has become spiritually estranged (split off from primordial consciousness and evolutionary/creative power). then that estrangement becomes further compounded while the original causation factor becomes obscured appearing to be inscrutable by a mind which has become habitually fixated to confused thought patterns. In that milieu strong "authority figures" and external "law and order structures" may appear to some to be safe predictable havens, but in reality they merely act as ersatz meaning and substitute structures, to replace gnawing inner scarcity, lack, and absence of direct connection (yoga) provides. They present the barriers for further spiritual evolution.

Because of grasping and fear, too often the need for the external substitute/subliminal ersatz reality consistently overrides attempts to reestablish the primacy of inner wisdom, primordial knowledge, innate order, inner gnosis and authority, and innate goodness (the innate Buddhanature). Hence the process of waking up and liberation is resisted/conflictive, while those who would waken us up are seen as threats-- dangers to the prison of the ego -- the citta-vrtti. Challenging one's belief systems, questioning previously unexamined assumptions, questioning authority, and new ideas are welcomed by those who value creative and critical thought as a pathway to expand and open their mind and experiences. On the other hand they are challenging, triggering a reaction of conflict, fear, and often hatred and resentment to those who are severely afflicted.

The Psychiatrist, Wilhelm Reich, M.D., and founder of Bodypsychotherapy said over 50 years ago.

"Those who are truly alive are kindly and unsuspecting in their human relationships and consequently endangered under present conditions. They assume that others think and act generously, kindly, and helpfully, in accordance with the laws of life. This natural attitude, fundamental to healthy children as well as to primitive man, inevitably represents a great danger in the struggle for a rational way of life as long as the emotional plague subsists, because the plague-ridden impute their own manner of thinking and acting to their fellow men. A kindly man believes that all men are kindly, while one infected with the plague believes that all men lie and cheat and are hungry for power. In such a situation the living are at an obvious disadvantage. When they give to the plague-ridden, they are sucked dry, then ridiculed or betrayed." "It is high time for the living to get tough, for toughness is indispensable in the struggle to safeguard and develop the life-force; this will not detract from their goodness, as long as they stand courageously by the truth. . . . Anyone who wants to safeguard the life-force from the emotional plague must learn to make at least as much use of the right of free speech that we enjoy in America for good ends as the emotional plague does for evil ones. Granted equal opportunity for expression, rationality is bound to win out in the end. That is our great hope . . .

You could have long since become the master of your existence, if only your thinking were in the direction of truth. You are cowardly in your thinking, Little Man, because real thinking is accompanied by bodily feelings, and you are afraid of your body. Many great men have told you: Go back to your origin - listen to your inner voice - follow your true feelings - cherish love.

The kindly individual believes that all people are kindly and act accordingly. The plague individual believes that all people lie, swindle, steal and crave power. Clearly, then, the living is at a disadvantage and in danger.

There is only one antidote to the germs of the emotional plague in the mass individual: his own feeling of living life. The living does not ask for power but for its proper role in human life. It is based on the three pillars of love, work and knowledge.

You beg for happiness in life, but security is more important to you, even if it costs you your spine or your life. Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion; when your thinking will be in harmony with your feelings; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians; when you will have more respect for the love between man and woman than for a marriage license.

You will no longer believe that you "don't count." You will know and advocate your knowledge that you are the bearer of human society. Don't run away. Don't be afraid. It is not so terrible to be the responsible bearer of human society. Inflated leaders would have no soldiers and no arms if you clearly knew, and stood up for your knowledge, that a field has to yield wheat and a factory furniture or shoes, and not arms. All you have to do is to continue what you have always done and always want to do: to do your work, to let your children grow up happily, to love your mate.

You are GREAT, Little Man, when you are not small and petty. You are great when you carry on your trade lovingly, when you enjoy carving and building and painting and decorating and sowing, when you enjoy the blue sky and the deer and the dew and music and dancing, your growing children and the beautiful body of your woman or your man, when you learn to understand and think about life. You are great when you hold your grandchildren on your knees and tell them about times long past, when you look into an uncertain future with their trusting childlike curiosity, when you lull your newborn to sleep, when you sing the good old folk songs.

Follow the voice of your heart, even if it leads you off the path of timid souls. Do not become hard and embittered, even if life tortures you at times. There is only one thing that counts: to live one's life well and happily."

"Listen Little Man", Wilhelm Reich. M.D.

In addition, when children are loved unconditionally for who they are as they are, that unconditional love and acceptance provides a base for the establishment of an innate sense of well being. That state or even its memory has to be rediscovered. Those who have lost that memory or have never experienced that in this world, need love. They too can benefit from yoga as an exploration of that.

See the discussion on PAIN above and Fear of Living below.

Of course the best medicine is preventative and proactive; i.e., to remove the conditions of ignorance that perpetuates the institution of transgenerational ignorance and suffering in the first place. Also see "AVOIDANCE" and "DENIAL".

Chronic Meanness

AN III.65 Kalama Sutta

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher."

When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' "

We saw that in Sutra I that Loving Kindness (maitri) is a yoga practice. It is an effective practice because it reflects the wisdom of the transpersonal and non-dual state. It brings us in communion with that state. Just contemplating maitri, karuna, mudita, and upeksha, helps us to transform dvesa and the other kleshas. The boundless mind is always an option to entertain. So is ahimsa, the primary yama. On the other hand, chronic meanness is a stance that reflects spiritual self-estrangement, pain, lack, and desire due to fragmentation/corruption from the whologram.

Chronic meanness is due to deep imbedded chronic pain which has taken over the consciousness and overrides the higher wisdom. People hate and desire to hurt others because they hurt inside. Torture, hell, and pain for them is "life". They run amok on the planet creating more pain and suffering. The schadenfreude or sadist (see Fear of Living and Fear of Pleasure) is in a chronic state of desiring to discharge their pain upon others, thus obtaining temporary relief. Tragically these people waste their own lives and others in unconscious vicious cycles of himsa, inflicting harm onto others. This blocks their bodhicitta (innate goodness) and spiritual progress creating even more negative karma for themselves; yet they are resistant to change because mean and hateful people often refuse to admit that they are mean. In short it is not chic to be mean or hateful, so such people justify their behavior in rationalizations, often with elaborate lies and self deceit. For example the Nazis torturers said of themselves that they were only following orders. So did the American torturers at Abu Grhaib. The the Israeli soldiers claimed self defense in Gaza. The slave owners claimed that they were giving their African slaves a superior way of life and religion. So too did the Spanish conquistadors claim that they were civilizing the heathens of the Americas by slaughtering them and stealing their land. Some Buddhist meat eaters claim that they are doing the animal a favor by slaughtering and eating them. None of that is very flattering to the ego, so the ego makes up more lies (asmita) itself. Such poppycock is found in the history books written by the victors and master class.

Chronic meanness is due to chronic forgetfulness of the innate good, the absence of the sacred, an inner emptiness and coldness, the result of a severe repression and blockage of the innate bodhi-citta. Practices must be undertaken in earnest to melt the hardness of the heart.

Anger and Pain

Yogis desire to investigate the kleshas such as hatred, fear, anger, craving, etc., in order to eliminate the pain, not because the "investigation" itself gives us  pain, albeit it may reveal underlying pain; albeit mental or physical pain is an indicator that calls for our attention of course. The yogi wants to meet his/her inner demons and shadow/twilight modalities in order to shine light upon life for reasons of self liberation, which eliminates all pain. The greatest enemy is delusion (self deceit) and its many guises and retinues.

Anger, which is painful, but addictive, can be eliminated in every situation by knowing how our mind works, as it is the mind which creates the anger and pain as a reaction to both external stimuli, events, and situations, as well as dreams and thoughts, which seem not be the result of outside events/stimuli. Both what we label as external events and also what we label as internal mental events are the result of past karma – they are explained by the Buddha as dependent origination and by Patanjali as karma. Since these mental habits are karmically induced, they can be changed by the accumulation of positive actions/karma and/or wisdom.

In short, it is not possible to escape from the mind, but we can change our old mental habits and karmic patterns. It can be as simple as using the anger as an awareness tool – meeting your anger. That is, "oh here I am becoming angry. How interesting. I am angry because ..... blah blah. Or I feel angry, but I don't know the cause. In either case, I celebrate my awareness! How wonderful to know my present condition. I celebrate awareness! Watching my anger, I create space for awareness. I bring this awareness as a glowing light with me wherever I go."  

That awareness eventually becomes clarified. Buddha is pure and complete awareness – awareness of everything in samadhi. Thus, this is a step toward Buddha – waking up and liberation.

Therefore, escape from the mind is as futile as escape from our fears. They will haunt us until we confront them. Temporary distractions of self-gratification will not substitute for the joy of being fully present without fear, aversion, greed, or confusion.

It is common to attempt to escape or displace unpleasant feelings by putting off their eventual confrontation through ersatz mechanisms of diversion or distraction. This is not healthy, in the sense that a delusional and consumer oriented society caters to this sickness. Unfortunately, sick is normal. Fulfilling temporary self-gratifications work temporarily. Eventually they will become empty and neurotic. This too is normal.

Anger often arises when events do go the way we desire or intend, i.e., when our object of desire is denied. Anger is a common reaction, especially for men. When we become frustrated in an attempt to accomplish something (when our desires/expectations are not met), we become angry. That anger is wasted emotional energy. The classical female response is more healthy, in recognizing that the desire has become thwarted (accepting the situation as it is) and then moving on. There is no efficiency in complaining about something that can't be changed, excessive grief, blame, anger, or self-incrimination.

Of course, these are generalizations. They are all dysfunctional/counterproductive emotional traps that can be avoided. There is a lesson in suffering. If we don't learn our lesson then (what causes suffering and pain), we might have to repeat the activity until the lesson is learned. Having become liberated from the cause of suffering through awareness, we can focus on unending happiness. That awareness is joyful and liberating. It is our friend if we accept it.

Many people become angry with themselves when they find out that they have been duped or misled and have acted naively. I agree that when we are severely dumbed down, drugged, living in a stupor, and insensitive we do not feel the pain, nor are we aware of the anger. That is also a common dysfunctional escape mechanism, while waking up and meeting our pain can be very refreshing, self empowering, and joyful without bringing up elements of anger or self-recrimination. Just to say that authentic dharma can be far more pleasurable and liberating than normal neurotic distractions. Dharma light can destroy fear, confusion, anger, and craving, but its general principles should be applied according to one's own unique situation, not in a common cookie cutter mode.

Anger is not healthy. It causes stress, while disturbing our innate healing energy. There are many remedies (practices) offered to transmute this klesha. In fortunate practices the yogi does not try to repress or negate it; rather it is transformed. In more fortunate circumstances the anger is simply released as the yogi has become accustomed to his/her natural abode of great potentiality. In one sense, it is mindfulness, as we recognize it arising; it is released. In a similar sense it is samatha, as one relaxes increasingly in the natural unconditioned of primordial awareness. All of the above can be addressed as skillful means; wherein all conditions are met with the unity of pure wisdom and pure compassion, which eventually  extends into all our relations ... until all sentient beings recognize and are integrated in true nature-- in a sublime fount of co-creative creativity.

Yogic practice is best seen as abiding in a state of immovable lasting happiness, which is unconditional and unconditioned. It is a characteristic of vast awakening. It is a natural happy path that leads to true and lasting uncontrived happiness. As we have seen practice is designed to dissolve the obstructions of mind-essence, natural space. Then duhkha (unhappiness) ceases to arise. In every moment the mind can create happiness or pain, so it's a no brainer. This joyful light and awareness is something we carry around with us to illumine life; yet it illumines us and all beings/things naturally when our inner eye is open. It is buoyant and self luminous.  

Catharsis of ill will: hatred and anger as the pathological transformation of jealousy, frustration, and denied desires

Frustration of desire often leads to anger as a discharge mechanism when release is mechanisms are not recognized as available or are otherwise blocked. Many people do not even recognize that they are seeking discharge through anger, because they have little emotional self awareness/consciousness. Many are thus in denial that they are addicted to chronic anger when desires are not met. When such anger becomes built up, bottling it up any further becomes impossible, and the victim explodes with rage and wrath at an object, which is the externalized object of their anger. It does not occur to such people, that the cause of their anger is their own inefficient mental/emotional mechanism. Unable to see the true cause of their anger (their own particular mindset), angry people become addicted to expressing anger as a venting mechanism. Because this mechanism is very common and because large anger often signals righteous indignation, which points the finger at an externalized accused object of the anger, other angry people become attracted to other angry people as genuine. They are genuine only in so far that these people share a common emotional illness and bias; i.e., anger which they can feel and relate to with each other. Finger pointers, as demagogues, hence often become "leaders" of angry men as they lead them in a battle that promises to destroy the cause of their pain/anger, thus uniting angry men in performing heroic feats for the benefit of a demagogic king who would exploit men's emotional weakness (anger).  

Angry people, can congregate together, not unlike mutual support groups expressing their shared anger as in group catharsis, such as in taverns, sports events, political gatherings, nationalistic, or other chauvinistic events where there may be much yelling, shouting, cursing, pounding, jumping around, etc. Group catharsis can become criminally psychopathic when it involves gay bashing, hate crimes, rape, lynching, pogroms, brawls, riots, and berserking. As long as the taverns, sports events, and gatherings involve angry people who share common objects of their anger, fights, and violence may be cathartic without harming others, but there is always a chance that an enemy (an object of the anger) may appear so that the anger may be discharged violently upon another human being. Indeed many angry people find that discharge as very stimulating and satisfying, at least temporarily.

"I'll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,
Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
Those who wade out into battle?
Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
They bear bloody shields.
Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
They form a closed group.
The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men
Who hack through enemy shields"

Translation from the Haraldskvæði saga describing Harald's berserkers, Page, R. I. (1995). "Chronicles of the Vikings". Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, p. 109.

Of course expressing anger outwardly as a mechanism of catharsis is not a cure for anger, but it being a connecting point to its origin, its mechanism must be studied and understood, while approaches that are more efficient become implemented. Then anger is mastered, not through its repression, but rather through effortless liberation (non-grasping). How is this mechanism to be studied? Not in laboratories, academies, hospitals, or books, but rather through self observation/self-awareness. That is how it is studied, through swadhyaya. It is liberated through its non-arising.

"If a soldier survives the berserk state, it imparts emotional deadness and vulnerability to explosive rage to his psychology and permanent hyperarousal to his physiology — hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans. My clinical experience with Vietnam combat veterans prompts me to place the berserk state at the heart of their most severe psychological and psychophysiological injuries."

Shay, Jonathan (1994). "Achilles in Vietnam". New York: Scribner. pp. 98. ISBN 0-68912182-2.


Transference of pain, anger, and violence through punishing "self" and others

We often hear about spreading the love and joy, but similarly there occurs much spreading of the hatred, anger, pain, confusion, and violence. This occurs in a society proportionately to the extent that its people are experiencing pain, dissatisfaction, and misery. Today, America has the highest rate of violence per capita, despite being the world's largest customer of consumer goods. Does that reflect the level of American happiness is not dependent upon craving -- egoic ownership? Such is evidence that the craving for more "things" is the result of a spiritual malaise – a substitute compensation for something more deep, which has become taken away, a separation, and rend from experiencing being interconnected.  

How this works (or rather does not work/is dysfunctional)

Human behavior ordinarily originates from the psychological, emotional, or philosophical content inside their mind. If human beings are filled with frustration, confusion, pain, and resentment, they are likely to express such in their activities and speech.

For some people who have excess anger/pain, as if they are ready to explode with anger, find that they can discharge such uncomfortable/painful feelings through surrogate means. This transference of pain, anger, and even violence can be vented in a "civilized" society by pounding pillows, defacing pictures of the hated object, person, or group. Many times such surrogates like scapegoat figures are used. Sometimes anger and violence is discharged upon groups that symbolize the enemy, the pain, or the feelings of abuse. For example, if a woman is a source of a man's pain, beating up any woman might provide a suitable vent, albeit usually temporarily. This applies to random acts of violence against members of differing races, nationalities, religions members, ethnicities, etc.

Chronic anger, hatred, fear, jealousy, competitiveness, and violence are most often learned at a very early age from parents, peers, teachers, religious leaders, or authority figures. One too often becomes convinced that the world is a dangerous place and that violence, war, blame, punishment, prisons, deceit, and competition are necessary for one's survival. Such stands in stark contrast to one who believes that the universe is basically friendly where reverence for life, compassion, love, peace, truthfulness, honesty, cooperation, and liberty are paramount corollaries to one's integrative vision (realization of samadhi).

For example, if one person was traumatically punished in the past, then in this way of punishment transfer, that same person may perpetuate a similar brutal act upon another person in a perverted attempt to discharge the shame, pain, or trauma. One may become overwhelmed, feel helpless, disempowered, desperate, or engulfed with such a dominant affliction and as such, it governs their mind and behavior. Transference of blame works the same way, like blaming your dog after a day in the office where we were "picked on" or abused.

Of course, these transfer mechanisms of shifting the blame, pain, violence, or punishment are perverse and dysfunctional. It is counterproductive as the pain, unhappiness, and/or anger is recollected, wells up repeatedly, demanding discharge until one learns to deconstruct, disconnect, or release the habitual mechanism, rather than discharge/release the symptoms upon others, the society, or upon ourselves. It is neither a healthy mechanism for the organism nor for others, yet it may provide a temporary release/vent.

Indeed, the martyr figure does not have to be the one that we nail on the cross (kill and punish as a surrogate), so that our pain is absolved, rather we can become our own self suffering martyrs by holding in our anger, while reenacting daily rituals of self hatred and self abuse. Such self-harm, self-punishment, and self-torture can be considered as "safe", harmless, just, and even self-righteous, but of course it is not. Self punishment hardly transfer pain and punishment upon a surrogate object, even if it is oneself without making the schizoid split even worse. These injurious dysfunctional mechanisms must and can be identified and disassembled. One must ask with compassion, what does one do when the pain becomes unbearable.  

There "should be" (but isn't) a social mechanism or institution made available to those who are about to "blow their tops". The other cost-free way, is self-awareness, where we learn how to watch our mind and emotions, as we interact with events and people. Here we learn how to stay centered, focused, aware, and in recognition with the life energy in All Our Relations. In this chapter, Patanjali offers us Ashtanga Yoga as such an awareness practice. This is a process of de-conditioning/deprogramming dysfunctional habits of anger, aggression, harm, and self-centered abuse.

Sick, dysfunctional, and violent people, who live in a sick, dysfunctional and violent society, who respect, reward, and glorify violence and aggression will disagree that violence and harm are not innate and natural. Albeit the potential for violence, dysfunction, greed, exploitation, and violence exists, so too is the potential for compassion, love, altruism, happiness, and contentment. A sane and healthy person and society is free to choose. An honest investigation into human and social maladies will provide answers. No such investigation wallows in its own self-created misery and confusion. One who recognizes that they have an anger problem, may find it very beneficial to cut their ties with other angry/hateful "friends", while cultivating relationships with kind and compassionate people. Similarly, if one has friends who are constantly angry, hateful, paranoid, and harmful, do not encourage or feed that outlet. Be a real friend by being real – reflecting/mirroring the truth, while avoiding possible wrath or harm. 

Self anger, self-adversariness, or self hatred

How can one hate oneself unless there are two "selfs", the one who hates, and the other, who is the object of one's hatred? These two selves, who are at odds, or rather as multiple personalities, are parcels of a schizoid personality, a person who is at odds within – within their "self". This inner conflict creates tension, conflict, and saps their strength, love, courage, creative ability, healing power, and evolution

How this condition is created has myriad causes, but there are common general features that can be identified as well as general methods to defeat the process, while returning to synergistic synchronicity with one pointed concentration, attention, focus, purpose, meaning, balance, wellness, love, and harmony. In general, the primary general cause is always the same; i.e., confusion, however in this case the delusional roles, personalities, or characters have been given lives of their own.

More specifically this can occur when the parents are schizoid, conflicted, hypocritical, have multiple personalities, have bi-polar tendencies, multiple allegiances, undergoing life changes, etc. For example, they may show one face to the boss and another to the spouse, one face to one child and another to the other child, one face to the neighbors and another to the uncle or aunt, etc. The child then grows up with mixed values and confused realities/world views as contexts, while learning how to put on safe faces to each parent depending on which they are at the moment. To a greater or lesser extent, the parents do not always consciously know "who" they are at any given moment, or if they are playing a role/game or not depending on their own self-awareness brought upon by swadhyaya (self study).

Some people play various roles consciously as a game that they can manipulate, while most play the games reflexively, compulsively, and subconsciously depending on needs, conditions, and aspirations. When this role changing is done reflexively, then it is more than deceit or masquerading, but rather has become self-deceit and delusional. Especially if the "player" believes that "everything" he/she does is a character act or role, which they can play or not play, then that person is completely deluded.

Multiple personality disorders can also be picked up other than by parents. Teachers, peers, TV heroes, idols, priests, bosses, and even criminals can serve as multi-personality success stories or examples, especially when these people believe that they are getting away with something by manipulating dissociation tactics or deception.

In these cases, these dissociations are often seen as escapes from painful situations. They are conflated as liberation, but it is just a delusion. Cynical and nihilistic personalities will say that "life" and reality are the lie and that there is no reality, world, or truth. Thus, their belief in delusion only becomes more solidified by their need to justify and rationalize their unaccountable and sociopathic behavior. Although dissociation and schizoid splits can occur as an escape, because of severe painful trauma where the person is overloaded and frozen in pain – where the split is seen as the only way out, such escape mechanisms only punish the victim more. The more efficient response is ALWAYS to meet the pain directly head on, and then it will go away ceasing to haunt one later. 

When these multiple faces or personalities become internalized (usually by early adulthood), then one has become at war with themselves. It is no longer about what one's parent may say, the boss, the priest, teacher, neighbor, husband, etc., but now the personality has multiple voices criticizing their every move or thought. Some of these voices were relegated by Freud into the domain of the super-ego, the conscience, or internal censor. They cannot substitute for self-awareness. For example, conscience could be defined as a learned trait by conforming to external authoritarian rules; or, as in yoga, we can recognize a higher conscience, as dictates coming from a transpersonal universal compassionate awareness. Whether these contradictions between our self-identity stems from external social mores, peer pressure, or our higher spiritual self, friction, conflict, tension, and resistance can often manifest in angry terms as if one were at war with oneself.

In regard to self-anger/self-hatred, one often can become angry with oneself for the lack of specific "good" actions that the conscience "expects" from the self (actor) or the implementation of other actions, which are contrary to one's own self censor (conscience), In short, one's values must be congruent/aligned with one's actions, thoughts, and deeds. If not internal conflict, frustration, anger (externalized), self-anger, self-inhibition, or dissociation are likely. Again, this always comes from confusion/non-awareness, not knowing as to what is the most expedient response/action to take (its frustration). It's root cause as a disharmony/non-alignment between body, mind, and meaning. For the ordinary person, the specific source of the self-anger is not conscious, rather it is compulsively expressed (internalized or externalized) being set in motion apparently stimuli (conditions), which are the result of pervious causes and conditions (karma). In yoga, we call these samskaras (programs and conditioning, which have become habituated as chronic thought formations. Yoga so aptly aims at disrupting and breaking up these thought formation processes.

Thus, anger can manifest as self-destructive behavior or it can be re-externalized (after it has been internalized) where the self-angry personality finds an external shadow figure to kill, hate, or destroy. This reaction is strongest when the shadow figure represents a message, which appears threatening to one's present delusional character set (egoic mindset) which is nothing other than a dualistic belief system where an egoic identity (I) is fixated within contexts which are conflicting or contradictory. Hence, contradiction is undesired, while integration and harmony is representative of an inner and outer non-dual alignment.

The solution is always the same, integration of body, speech, true nature of mind, and the true nature of nature. That is, when the delusional coverings (confusion) are exorcised, then clarity, compassion, and skill will spontaneously manifest as bliss – as wisdom and compassion in motion. For this to be continuous, all the past negative samskaras will have to be deprogrammed. Then one's true (Buddhanature) innate potential will shine forward naturally and spontaneously.

Sri Patanjali knew this and much more. He taught the ten yam/niyam, not as moral codes such as the ten commandments, nor as a system of good and bad to repress/inhibit or control some actions while imitating, conforming, or adapting to others, because that approach is certain to create even more inner turmoil, self conflict, and self-anger, self hatred, and self-adversarial behavior. This is common in fundamentalist religious sects, where one is coerced not to think for oneself; i.e., where any critical or independent thought, which does not conform to the strict external guidelines and structure of "good" and "bad" behavior laid down according to the belief system or interpretation of "right" and "wrong" of that specific religious cult is discouraged, penalized, and/or condemned. Of course, such belief systems (as we have seen in I.9) not only create intolerance of other sentient beings, but also self-intolerance/self-hatred. For example, if one is taught that sex is bad out of wedlock, but one's sacred duty within wedlock, then a man learns to hate himself for sexual thoughts and desires before he is married and/or if it involves anyone else but his wife. Albeit, one way for the fundamentalist to express their self-hatred in denial is to condemn the woman for exciting his "evil" desire, thus projecting that the woman is evil. If the man is a bit more introspective, he will blame himself, and think that he is evil, thus supporting ideas of original sin. These types of externalizations/internalization errors are myriad in unnatural belief systems. Another example would be the fundamentalist error, which associates pain, self-hatred, self-punishment, and self-abnegation with Godliness, goodness, salvation, or heaven; i.e., the more one suffers, the closer is one to God. Similarly, it is not uncommon with fundamentalist evangelists to conclude that the spiritual or holy war is to be externalized outside, as in a war to convert the unbelievers or "evil-doers". They mistake their shadow world populated by inner demons, and externalize them for lack of insight and self-awareness. These same people conclude that democracy is evil because man is evil and hence democracy is not God's government. Although they find God's government to be interpreted from books and man's words, they take their interpretation as infallible.

Patanjali, in his wisdom, thus avoids "good and evil" altogether by simply stating that yam/niyam are true reflections of one's unconditioned (liberated) state. Thus, taking a deep look at one's own thoughts and actions in terms of yam/niyam will be helpful in revealing samadhi, which is the experiential state of absolute liberation (kaivalya). Yoga is not a system of willpower and conformity to a belief system; rather it is a process of awakening. Here anger (ill will or mal-intent) brings negative results to that aim, while love elicits the highest merit and virtue. Anger and hatred as ill will tear us up inside, even more so if it is inner directed. Directing it deeper inward only makes it less apparent. It makes it more difficult to detect and remedy. It is the cause of much social and physical pathology.

One may imply that I am making a case for narcissistic self-love, but that is not so. The case is being made against the delusion of any separate self, which exists independently. The case is for non-duality, no self, or rather a mindset, which is empty of the fragmentation process of self and objects. Since no-self is our natural and healthy condition, it saps much energy to constantly cling upon a self and the resultant disconnected objects of such a fragmented "self-created" universe.

To be certain, utilizing moral codes of good as reward and objectifying an "evil" as wrong or bad, is at best a provisional teaching, which can never replace one's direct, deep, and meaningful communion with reality as-it-is. It will not substitute for non-dual realization, just as garlic, onions, and heavy spices are not able to obviate the ill effects of tainted food. Rather than to conform, obey, and become addicted to mechanically obedience to rules of behavior, by feeling good about being able to obey, or on the other hand, punish oneself for disobedience, one can rather learn how to connect with the beauty, love, meaning, inspiration, and resultant joyful liberation more directly. Instead of using fear of hell, punishment, damnation, or threats as motivators, one uses the union (yoga) with the primordial motive power of nature as indicator. 

Release of the Mechanism of Controlled Anger, Fear, and the Explosive Personality

Controlled Anger

Anger is often used to control and manipulate people. Classically this is evidenced by fathers, bosses, sergeants, rulers, or "superiors" whom one feels compelled to please (not anger). Anybody who depends upon the good graces of another, will fear angering them. Such does not go unnoticed by the tyrant, who uses controlled anger in subtle and nuanced ways to manipulate and exploit others who are susceptible. Such a person thus titrates his "angry personality" according to his purpose, greed, and desire to manipulate people and events to his/her advantage. Albeit this controlled anger is in the beginning contrived, but later often becomes chronic.

It is important not to repress anger or other emotions so that it festers within. Rather it must be allowed to come up to the service by recognizing and feeling it. Noticing it, we say that is anger, that is grief, that is jealousy, that is craving, or that is unhappiness. Eventually we witness that is mental arising and that is mental cessation. Eventually all the negative emotions become released simply by watching them arise and cease, not by forcing or trying to change them. They arise in the mind, and cease in the mind. SUch mental tendencies may take many years of practice to cease. but positive results can be experienced immediately in the process.

The Explosive Personality

In other circumstances where anger is not contrived, controlled, or consciously recognized through meditative practices, further situations may develop where the anger becomes explosive in harmful activity such as physical violence, hate crimes, lynching, burnings, looting, vandalism, or other abusive activity toward others or self. This is the danger of repressing anger or any other emotion because relief valves (as in vain neurotic expressions) become grounds for further human, social, ecological, and planetary despair and suffering. Mechanisms of chronic repression/denial of emotions provide the hooks that demagogues and emotional manipulators use to exploit people, fear being a rather large one.

Deprogramming/unconditioning the Anger mechanism naturally

We have already discussed at length the relationship between desire, fear, and anger, elsewhere. We can discuss endlessly skillful methods that deal with the cause of anger, so that anger is neither repressed nor expressed. Thus in yoga, all kleshas are destroyed when ignorance (as unawareness) is deprogrammed. Through the practice of yoga, anger no longer arises, rather all situations become opportunities to practice compassionate and skillful means. Thus without raga, anger does not arise. Without asmita, there is no anger. Without ignorance, love and skillful means spontaneously arise in the non-dual and transpersonal state. (See "vajra anger" as fierce compassion).          

In general, "out of control" anger is perceived as a generalized threat. Indeed, the very phrase, "out of control", will be feared by many as a dangerous state of mind, as there is often an assumption that wild and natural is suspect; i.e., that it is construed as bad, dangerous, or threatening. the more tightly in control the ego, the more constrained are natural, spontaneous, and direct expressions. In fact, many psychologists and religious leaders argue that our deepest emotions "should be" repressed (overcome) because the assumption is that human beings are bad/evil. If left to their natural momentum, mankind would unleash that evil, therefore, one must bundle it up, repress, control and constrain  it. Further, natural people are dangerous and undignified, wild and wilderness connotes danger, unpredictability becomes paramount with insecurity.

Hence the young child in "civilized societies" that accept the paradigm that nature and wilderness are a danger, rather than a co-creator/ally or sustainer, will become conditioned to fear nature, unpredictability, and change, while the innate order, wisdom, intelligence, beauty, and mutually synergistic co-evolutionary connection that humans have with nature becomes ignored. Since the only way to step outside of nature is to go to heaven, one unnaturally learns to fear life (fear being an ever-present danger) and nature, as well as the body and natural feelings (as being an intimate part of nature, evolution, and the creative process).

Gender Generalizations (left and right brain mechanisms regarding fight or flight)

Men and women deal with frustrating and/or disagreeable situations differently, in so far that generally speaking, men are more prone to anger, while women are more prone to grief and despair. Women, in general, thus adapt better to situations that cannot be changed, while men, in general, respond to situations more aggressively, where action is called for to facilitate change. By "male" or "female", we can refer to the dominance of the left or right brain mechanisms respectively. For example, when attacked it may be best to stand and fight especially when the situation requires swift and forceful action; yet in another situation it may be wiser to retreat (take flight).

In yoga, the left and right as well as all dualistic tendencies are perfectly balanced, harmonized, and integrated in the middle way (sushumna). This is done by practicing asana, pranayama, bandhas, hatha yoga mudras, pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana in an integrated and synergistic fashion.

Bringing light into the darkness of the illness called anger

A sane person may inquire, why it is that so many people chose ignorance, denial, and pain? The answer is most often pain itself, accompanied by its cousin fear. The self-perpetuation, by the victim, of their own victimization is due to their inability to accept their own unbearable mental pain; rather they constantly deny it. They surround themselves with "friends" who also deny it, while blaming others for their pain, eventually associating their pain with those who do not share it. "Friends for those so afflicted form alliances "against" the common enemy (truth) and attempt to find protection through cooperative/conspiratorial militarism; i.e., as long as the group is united in their paranoia and hatred of the "agreed upon enemy" a truce within the group is declared and hence a sense of security. That is, until a group member evidences contrary behavior, he is a fellow protector, a co-conspirator, as friend. Such paranoid groups held together by their common desire to inflict pain upon the enemy, while protecting/raising their self-image, lowered sense of self-esteem, or insecurity forming an uneasy and unsustainable coalition need to be disassembled. The desire to blame, punish, and harm "the other" – those who do not conform to the pain body's representation of their own world view and self-image, tends to trivialize and marginalize others at the minimum; yet "the other" serves a valuable purpose, albeit temporary, to the pain body as a transfer mechanism for their hatred. Devoid of such an outlet, the pain body would collapse upon itself, short circuit, or explode, depending on external circumstances. The first step in recovery from the pain body is for one to give up denial, to surrender their compulsive arrogance, to enter into dialogue, to look and listen. The solution is always awareness, to wake up, surrendering paranoia, old programming, arrogance, hatred, and predictability within a contrived artificial order, for their learning. The disorders of the pain body (the ego) are myriad. It solidifies the mental pathology of all times. 

Cultivating real friends who will tell us when we are making mistakes is one answer. True friends will help us come out of delusion, rather than playing us with words that the pain body wants to hear in order to assert its seemingly indomitable hold.  
“Buddhism is not at all a tactful religion, always trying to avoid giving offense. Buddhism addresses precisely what you are and what your mind is doing in the here and now. That’s what makes it so interesting. … My approach is to expose your ego so that you can see it for what it is. Therefore, I try to provoke your ego. There’s nothing diplomatic about this tactic. We’ve been diplomatic for countless lives, always trying to avoid confrontation, never meeting our problems face to face. That’s not my style. I like to meet problems head on and that’s what I want you to do, too.”
~ Lama Thubten Yeshe

It would help a lot if we lived in a society (external environment) where truth and kindness were honored more than propaganda, deception, guile, self-protection alliances, masquerades, threat, and aggression. Just imagine! It would certainly help if the society was less competitive, greedy, violent, and paranoid. In short, it would help to grow up in a world where people were honest and had integrity and would not constantly cling onto ready-made substitute belief systems to compensate for their confusion. It would help if there were many Lama Yeshes too! But alas, we live in a “challenging” time.

Some pain bodies (egoic mindsets) are very insecure and needy (are suffering deeply), hence they are objects of my true compassion. They identify with their egoic delusion like all egoic beings, so they constantly suffer from lack of worth and meaning in life, attempting to fill an endless self-created chasm due to ego.

The other extreme are people who flatter us by telling us how great our egos are, instead of giving us constructive feedback when we need it. That is not true friendship either, because it merely reinforces our own delusion (self-deceit). The trick is how to be with true friends honestly while honoring truth, kindness, reality, integrity, openness, and authenticity without merely bruising some one’s ego and leaving them bleeding on the sidewalk, while feeling self-righteous (better) about oneself. Mostly paranoid pain bodies habitually do not believe in kindness, compassion, and true friendship, so we can expect friendship to be resisted. Busting delusions/illusions is good karma, but requires compassion and wisdom—skill in means (upaya).

That skill which requires marrying compassion and wisdom will not cause harm. Both wise caution and wise courage are required. Denial must not be fed or habitually ignored.
It is a conundrum unless we have skill, self-awareness, and the self-confidence that self-awareness bestows, which in turn yoga our practice bestows. Many will feel that it is best to cop out, but WE are in this all together (copping out is impossible). So if one subscribes to the value of radical honesty, then they also have to do it consciously and wisely without self-guile, so that it is not merely an arrogant/egoic expression and/or merely a cloistered expression of anger, hatred, or egoic insecurity (confusion). That is what waking up is about.

Taking a long retreat or doing meditation is like a recovery center, recovering from past programming/conditioning, breaking up conditioned reflexes mental habits, and then acclimating to that sacred space which is empty of such – our unconditioned/natural condition. This undertaking must be voluntary and self-perpetuating
Afterwards, it is a matter of integrating with that open unconditioned space, while interacting with all sorts of people, despite the morons, psychopaths, paranoids, angry or abusively oriented people. That is also practice, while that practice to stay centered in the heart, extends everywhere WE go (if we are lucky). That is the manifestation of extreme kindness and compassion.

The above is far short of indiscriminately trashing people whom we are envious or jealous, blaming others by praising ourselves, or praising other’s egoic identifications/self images in order that they might praise our own egoic images in a mutual egoic love-fest, all of which is more than a waste of time and energy for those on the true path. In short, Lama Yeshe, like most Lamas, taught those who were seeking truth, not delusion. He taught those who desired to become free and not remain imprisoned, thus they were ready to give up their egoic identities/prisons (citta-vrtta). Beating around the bush (indirect teachings) were not his style, neither was he into cajoling or flattering others. Neither was he into trashing them as well.

Yogis are not ordinary people. Surround yourself with yogis. After being around people like this for many years, you will have great confidence in this method; i.e., that deep inside (at our core) resides our Buddhanature, which is daily being crowded out by egoic charades, conditioned defenses, and confusion. Human beings cannot afford denial anymore.

On the other hand, many people have fragile egos, which are left fragile and unreinforced, with little or no defenses to deal with the onslaught of aggressive bullies. Certainly please be their true friends even more so. In the end, the truth hurts nowhere as much as does pretense, lies, propaganda, misinformation, deception/deceit, and dumb-me-down-on-purpose secret societies run by in-the-know elitists who closely guard it. In such cases many emotional defensive mechanism may arise such as avoidance, dissociation, withdrawal, etc; but when all is said and done, the earth and the entire cosmos are available to come to our side with its inscrutable power and momentum.  

Although a temporary balance or compromise can be struck, when someone is weak, confused, and at a very low ebb, when full catastrophe living strikes home, and they are experiencing a dark night of their soul, that may be an excellent opportunity for their ego (self-deceit/delusion) to die… completely in total disillusionment and light.
Typically, in Western psychology, the temporary solution has been to build up the egoic defenses, while reinforcing it so that it can cope in an imperfect society, but that can have disastrous effects, such as endless striving toward status, privilege, power over others, domination, endless war, religious pride, bigotry, phobias, broken marriages, sexism, racism, chauvinism, nationalism, isolation, insularity, close-mindedness, destruction of the wilderness and nature, and xenophobia. The list is as long as it is ugly. Nothing can adequately substitute for non-dual knowledge (jnana) -- love.

Healing as Remediation of the Kleshas

Once we recognize the role of the mind as being the causal factor in pain, we have half the battle won. Such is true for all the kleshas. Although it is true that one may be said to experience pain, even though it is generated by the mind, it is merely mind caused and has no independent existence outside that causal field of contrived thinking. Once we stop numbing out and blocking out these messages through the bluntness of perceived pain, then recognition and healing can occur.

Many human beings reside in various states of pain (mental or physical), while numbing out, insulating oneself, or dissociating from the pain may at first be confused as pleasure or desirable, but in the end it is always a dysfunctional direction that leads to habitual syndromes of chronic self limitation. Instead it is awareness that liberates us even from pain

For example pain may be a substitute vague term for physical pressure, tension, destruction of cells or tissue, excessive heat, a bone rubbing on a nerve ending, etc. It is not pain that one experiences, but rather something deeper. If we knew what that is, then we could heal through wisdom/recognition as the first step. The second step would be to release the mechanism that is causing the primary injury and/or activate a remedial procedure. Otherwise we rest in ignorance and suffer from it. Hence a yogi does not numb out the pain or his body or block the nadis, rather the yogi faces what-is-as-it-is without the elaboration of this is painful, this is bad, this is hurtful, this I must escape from, etc. When the " pain threshold" is reached, then a mechanism of flight, escape, or aversion is activated -- a desire to be elsewhere. That is "dis-ease" or dvesa. Abiding in the truth as-it-is in the present, the yogi self liberates and is able to pierce all obstructions and reach the core/heart. Avidya, asmita, dvesa and/or raga prevents that.

Similarly in mental pain, the pain can definitely be attributed to the mind and hence self caused and capable of being uncaused via heightened self awareness. An object or event is -as-it-is. Again accepting the fact of the present situation does not sanction it, approve it, or fixate it; nor does it disapprove it. It remains as-it-truly-is as relative truth. This recognition then allows us to respond more effectively and wisely acting from the heart core in alliance with the entire multiverse, That acceptance allows for its own transformation/evolution. Instead of from fear, aversion, enmity, or any other self limiting impediment (klesha). Hence mental pain can be seen as a mental state of dis-ease, discomfort, unease, tension, unpleasantness, or aversion. Again a pain threshold is reached that triggers a desire to escape, the ignore, to deny, to numb out -- avidya and reject -- in some instances the well known fight or flight mechanism. It is all these unpleasant habitual mechanisms can be broken and liberation won.

Compassion is based on the Recognition of Suffering and the Desire to bring forth Happiness; e.g., Love

Obviously an object is not in itself painful or pleasurable, rather something in the mind makes the association, hence in that sense pain and pleasure are entirely subjective and due to the mind. That is not to say that people do not experience pain or suffering through that mechanism. Even if that mechanism is based on an error in perception, that mechanism itself (unhappiness) will be experienced. It is germane to state that because some delusional people will speculate that if the pain or suffering is mind made, it doesn't really exist. Hence they conclude suffering doesn't exist or that the average dualistic situation is an illusion (not real). That may be cunning, smart, or a self conning of the mind by the mind, but it is not wise. Rather such a conclusion is the opposite of what Patanjali and Buddha are saying. The samsaric condition is the chronic mental unhappy situation for billions. Pretending that these mental states do not exist is merely a convenient self serving delusion (self deceit). Delusion does not go away through further delusion, and delusion is not the name of the game. Indeed unhappiness is based on ignorance and delusion, but the fact that people are locked into samsara, ignorance, delusion, craving, aversion, etc., is an essential recognition to acknowledge (in Buddhism it is the first "noble" truth. Patanjali is not saying to pretend that mental suffering doesn't exist or that it goes away simply by believing that it is an illusion. Rather such thinking and belief is itself a delusion.

Suffering and ignorance does not go away by ignoring it -- through avidya. Rather the opposite one thoroughly recognizes and accepts all what-is-as-it-is. That does not mean one approves it, rather clarity as gnosis/wisdom in the sphere of non-prejudicial recognition is a starting point in remediation of all obscurations and hindrances. When that curtain is removed, it is not a case of cunning or pretension, rather one is filled with light, consciousness, transpersonal wisdom, and boundless love. Such is not the result of an ideation, reification, or imputation. Then the innate healing wisdom can spontaneously express itself. That does not happen in an aura of fear, attachment, or discursive thought -- but rather an uncontrived innate healing presence has overtaken the yogi. See Vajra Anger as selfless compassionate action.

Most of these kleshas operate while being deeply hidden from our daily superficial awareness. A meditator knows that they must be brought to the surface, recognized (not ignored), thus exposed to the light (vidya), then they are *effortlessly* released (vairagya).

Often we might even be running away from facing them (painful as they appear to be when viewed from inside an artificially created egoic framework of ersatz self worth). For example inhibition and repression may lead to repressed anger and result in self hatred and dissociation if one fears one's own anger. Likewise, extreme fear and cowardice may be the cause for inhibition, repression, withdrawal, dissociation, extreme passivity, overwhelm, languor, indifference, hollowness, coldness, numbness, apathy, complacency, lack of feeling, locked in dread, frozen, deadness, impassiveness, moral cowardice, machine like mechanical and android like obsequious behavior. Such aversion thus is often masked because it is characterized by inaction. passivity, withdrawal or indifference. Such frozen passivity exists insidiously in terrorized cultures especially. Because of this insidious dissociation from one's deepest longings and heartfelt feelings with its concomitant resultant disconnection and numbness to one's inner wisdom, intuition, self confidence, being informed directly by the life force, one's connection to the evolutionary life force (Prana), and the intrinsic seed potential (isvara), these victims have become stupid, and thus without any sense of self confidence or inner authority, they become willing slaves and robots for brutal totalitarian and/or authoritarian systems which promise external order, meaning, reward for obedience, and a predictable tightly bounded structure for those who are obedient or cooperate. The yogi is free from all that and more. Through silent sitting meditation we can become aware of any and all tensions, vagaries, constrictions, stress, energy blockages and release them. They arise and they subside. When vairagya becomes heightened via meditation the boundless transpersonal, transcognitive (nirvikalpa), and non-dual wisdom becomes very strong and present. Here also the infinite Heart naturally shines forth and is expressed.

Sacred Absence is the Mother of Sacred Presence: In the Presence of Absence; Remembering having Forgotten

Recognition by being present with one's grief is a far superior state of mind than denial, dissociation, emotional numbness, insulated aloofness, chronic indifference, and numbness as unfeeling mechanical automatons or left brain dominant drones suffocated, isolated, and shut off from our feelings..

As we have heard and will continue to hear in the Yoga Sutras alignment with the evolutionary power brings forth natural light and happiness, still it is crucial that one does not deny or run away from feeling grief as an escapist reaction when one is not aligned.

Acknowledging a grievous situation as a grievous situation (a fragmentary disconnection as a fragmentary disconnected state of mind) although not seeing the whole picture in context with the evolutionary power and source, still is a step in the right direction when it reflects one's true feelings at the time. In this way one is capable of learning from our experience through bringing in more conscious light into the situation. That way one is not role acting, acting pretentious, ignoring, or lost in self deceit and play, but then they are capable of true recognition. Once recognition of our situation is acknowledged, then more conscious awareness is possible, By turning away from the situation, conscious awareness is denied.

Through more conscious awareness. then more liberation is possible. Liberation does not come by ignoring a situation, covering it up, escaping from, numbing out, or overcoming our emotional feelings., rather it makes the situation far worse. That is why when we say avoidance, dissociation, emotional indifference, antipathy, aversion, repulsion, and denial is a more gross form of ignorance than grievousness, sadness, remorse, or tears. One has to learn to be present with grief and loss. in order to fully appreciate fullness. Hence sacred presence is generated via the acknowledgement of sacred absence; e.g., that something is lacking. Once we recognize that something is missing/lacking or absent, then we can honor that space via increased recognition.

Grief as a Path -- Grief as a great Teacher

When we completely accept our grief and allow ourselves to feel and experience that state of loss and absence completely and fully, then the great portal of the heart of compassion opens. Through this boundless open hearted place, the sense of separateness and loss is entirely healed. The rend/split is re woven as we realize our true innate state of interdependence on this trans dimensional level of the buddhaverse. Grief is the acknowledgment of suffering, the ability to meet it, and renounce/cleanse it with our tears. One needs to be strong of heart to face our fears and neurotic syndromes. In that way grief becomes a portal or practice into the boundless land of Great Compassion.

In Tantra yoga we take each experience as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves (swadhyaya). This is the way authentic yoga as integration can occur. The deeper the emotional state, the more we have to learn and liberate. Instead of avoiding, escaping, negating, numbing out our feelings, denying, dissociating from, inhibiting or running away from grief, we have the opportunity to fully understand where it is coming from (which is a feeling of lack, absence, loss, or feeling of separateness). Hence going deeper into discovering its true nature, we go deeper into the very core nature of "self" and separation/absence into boundless compassion.

Being open in the heart at a time of great loss (say of a loved one or precious "thing"), is a great lesson in non-attachment t results which is none other than being present in integrity with primordial consciousness (Now Awareness) -- NOW.

It certainly requires a lot of strength in order not to shut down. That is, it requires being in integrity with the Eternal Now which is something functional yogic  sadhana provides.  That's truly awesome, because we often go into protection like shut down, go numb, indifference, or dissociation, or similarly not to become distracted in blame,  anger, hatred, vengeance, attacking some one for our feelings or anything else to avoid/escape the actual situation of acknowledging our loss (and hence attachment). We avoid feeling the pain, but it is more empowering to fully feel everything completely and hence to truly abide in what-is-as-it-is  to feel/know the true nature of our situation trans verbally/trans conceptually in the heart.

Loss of a loved one, best friend, compatriot, a partner, or kin,  may be the most difficult loss we can experience short of separation from the oneness – the Great Continuum where we are all connected. But the key here is that when we are connected as one with the intelligent evolutionary power and consciousness, there is no separation and no loss is possible. Then we act as the living bridge – that expression of infinite love and wisdom.

Of course physical separation in a static and illusory materialistic sense is in the cards for all created beings eventually, so that is to be accepted from the beginning. However if we bring into this living in a timeless Now in All Our Relations with us as the living gift we give to ourselves and everyone simultaneously NOW as we navigate, then there is no loss, no separation, and no absence. Here love reigns unabated. Thus we are often "re-minded" how often we take the miracle of the breath for granted. Both laughter and sobbing involve the breath. If not repressed they can be very healing. If they are repressed they reinforce our separation from our feelings and deeper ways of knowing. That repression/inhibition in an attempt to flee from or fight lour emotional feelings, in turn also creates neurological imbalances, tension, and physical disease. When "flow" is established between one event and another fully naturally and spontaneously without attachment, we are animated and allied by the innate evolutionary life energy there is no karmic residue that is left behind. When emotions are repressed or dissociated from, then a residue will cry to be expunged in the future.

To be carried away by the waves of grief, this can be a great opportunity t wash up on the unknown shore of unconditional happiness and love. So it is recommended by the wise to  shed tears freely when we feel like it. Along those same lines also to laugh whenever you want and especially laugh at yourself is a gift worth considering.  The main thing here is to not become accustomed to being a wounded a victim lodged in chronic dualistic estrangement/separateness. In short too many people hold on to their woundedness and identify with that, rather than to live their lives by being open in the the present – sacred presence..

So witness any feelings of grief and observe it. See who it is who is sad and who if anyone benefits. If it is self pity, then know the difference and then let that go when you realize that you are helping no one including yourself with that.Let go of grief when you are satisfied/satiated and finished with it.
Ask "who" or what you are grieving for. Is it an object of desire or eternal presence? Relating to others as merely a physical body will limit our creative potential greatly. Rather form a relationship with the Great Integrity --your own "Self" in All Your Relations.

In short, the dysfunctional pathological mechanism of blocking consciousness from a perceived/judged painful situation is a counterproductive short circuit. Rather it must be reversed, by bringing in more light and consciousness as cit-shakti and prana-shakti into All Our Relations as the tool for awakening and liberation.

"I cannot sleep in your presence.
In your absence, tears prevent me.
You watch me My Beloved
On each sleepless night and
Only You see the difference

Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul’s companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out:
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love.

If you can’t smell the fragrance
Don’t come into the garden of Love.
If you’re unwilling to undress
Don’t enter into the stream of Truth.
Stay where you are.
Don’t come our way.

All year round the lover is mad,
Unkempt, lovesick and in disgrace.
Without love there is nothing but grief.
In love… what else matters?

Love is our Mother and
The way of our Prophet.
Yet it is in our nature
To fight with Love.
We can’t see you, mother,
Hidden behind dark veils
Woven by ourselves.

Do you want to enter paradise?
To walk the path of Truth
You need the grace of God.
We all face death in the end.
But on the way, be careful
Never to hurt a human heart!

Do you know what the music is saying?
“Come follow me and you will find the way.
Your mistakes can also lead you to the Truth.
When you ask, the answer will be given.”

The Master who’s full of sweetness
Is so drunk with love, he’s oblivious.
“Will you give me
some of your sweetness?”
“I have none,” he says,
unaware of his richness.

You know what love is?
It is all kindness, generosity.
Disharmony prevails when
You confuse lust with love, while
The distance between the two
Is endless.

This Love is a King
But his banner is hidden.
The Koran speaks the Truth
But its miracle is concealed.
Love has pierced with its arrow
The heart of every lover.
Blood flows but the wound is invisible."

From: Rumi" Whispers of the Beloved "
Translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Koln

Getting in Touch

Dvesa as in antipathy, repulsion, revulsion, aversion, hatred, fright, flight, fight, dismay, shock, denial and similar is the reverse of being present -- residing in sacred NOW awareness or presence. Grief in terms of tears and crying however reverse this process and brings one back in touch with the mental situation of the mental cause of dissociation which is of course a mental pain or overload --duhkha, Here the mind is no longer running away or in denial of the event, hence progress can be or has been made because self recognition and causal forces can be related.

This is important doorway in trauma therapy such in PTSD where ownership of one's authentic feelings have become disowned. Getting past the absence into the feelings eventually allows one to feel good again -- in alignment with the evolutionary force. Escapist tendencies and fear have to be defeated and reversed before one can access their deepest feelings in true "remembering". The mechanisms of fear and dissociation have to be destroyed. Such requires consciousness -- the ability to see through the smoke signal of pain into one's actual situation without artifice or defensive maneuvering in naked awareness. Then we can own up to our situation fully, and move deeper into the true nature of mind undistracted.

Suffering (dukha) has to be acknowledged as well as its cause acknowledged. Then the path of liberation can be practiced effectively. Then the mechanism of fear is disengaged and can not rule over us. After knowing happiness and the cause of happiness, then compassion can be practiced effectively. See this discussion under "pain" above. Also see "Fear of Pleasure" above and "Fear of Living (below).

"Fear invites calamity"

Swami Rama

This recognition and ability of living with the light, with love, with virtue, in harmony with the innate evolutionary power, requires increasing one's enthusiasm for effective practices such as sitting in now awareness/sacred presence, in naked awareness, increasing one's aspiration, and moral courage.

Further here on Pada II please see: "Fear of Pleasure", "Fear of Living", "AVOIDANCE", "What Appears as Pleasure may be Empty and Neurotic", "DENIAL". "Repression", and "THE SUFFERING OF CHANGE".


So again while abiding in the natural healthy sphere of perfect lucency, one naturally moves away from constriction and antipathic trappings and toward continual alignment with unconditional openness, liberation, light, love, and beauty innately. We naturally move away from antipathy and aversion innately in alignment with the evolutionary power as our intimate inheritance -- as a primordial boon. When we find ourselves in subliminal ersatz states or contrived mechanisms, we then find yogic practices such as kriya or astanga yoga in order to shift back into this alignment -- in order to free ourselves from the grip of ignorance and the kleshas. Especially helpful in diseases of dvesa are the practices of pranamaya, pratyhara, isvara pranidhana, visualizations (dharana), and dhyana (meditation).

In functional hatha yoga asana practice we move light and prana-shakti and cit-shakti into the dark recesses where cit and shakti are absent. We breathe life into the disconnected neural circuits and remove the blockages/obstructions of the nadis (removing the kleshas and karma). We move into that divine breath and grace which is pure vision (vidya) without a trace of asmita (separate self). That is what the magical movements of asana afford.

Perhaps the most effective practice that counteracts dvesa is the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion toward all beings, while accepting all events in the now without any preference except to know the truth/reality of the situation in its unbiased and unaltered clarity. Only with that clarity which comes from wisdom will we be able to effectively and compassionately accomplish our long term goals and hence the cessation of dvesa, craving, and duhkha will be accomplished.

In objectless silent sitting meditation or in conscious movement (hatha yoga), dvesa may come up (be revealed) in any of the forms that have been mentioned above. It is vitally necessary to recognize it when it does, and then let it go (vairagya) by surrendering it to the holographic advent of waking up (samadhi). Every out-breath gives us an opportunity to let it go to whence it came from, while every in- breath allows us to become regenerated with fresh cit-prana, space, light, and non-dual primordial wisdom until we become intoxicated, in love with, and aligned with the hologram -- as its loving and intelligent arms and legs.


Survival Mechanisms and the Imperishable Self : Depends on who we define our "self" to be on one hand, and who we truly are (swarupa) on the other. Fear and attachment are two results of confusion; i.e., the false identification with the body in phenomenal world. It is not just a matter of attachment to a false and limited sense of self which is defined outside of primordial time and the evolutionary energy, and hence an attachment to existential "things", rather it occurs also on a more subtle level as well, as on stagnating thought patterns, mental fixations, limited world views, and resistance to psychological and spiritual transformation/evolution within the context of primordial time and the boundless universal "self" (swarupa-sunyam).

II. 9. svarasa-vahi viduso pi tatha rudho bhinivesah

Even (api) in so called learned people (viduso) an automatic inclination (svarasa-vahi) arises for continuity in this life or in future and past lives. Hence a fear of disintegration and revulsion toward disparate isolation (oblivion or catatonia) arises.

svarasa-vahi: intrinsic, built in; flowing of its own accord; inclination

viduso: of a learned person

api: even

tatha in the same way

rudho: strongly appears; arisen; produced from.

abhinivesa: The ego's desire for continuity or fear of discontinuity, oblivion, or disintegration; The will for union. An innate obsession or deep feeling of insecurity which results from grasping onto a false identifications (be it body, ego, identification with place, time, things, or temporal systems (changing phenomena).

Commentary: Simply put, abhinivesa is best taken as a combination of raga, as in dualistic attachment to physical life, sense objects, and the egoic identity (asmita); and as fearful anticipation (dvesa), as in fear of losing communion and identification with sense objects, the body, the ego (asmita), and "*reality/life. Like dvesa, abhinivesa has both the elements of fear (repulsion) and attachment/desire (raga). Also like the other kleshas the solution is not to dissociate from the evolutionary life force, but rather to move into non-dual pure vision (vidya) by abandoning asmita (egoic identifications) through recognizing swarupa (the true nature of our own mind).

It is NOT correct to over simplify Patanjali's meaning to interpret this sutra as body or earth negative, that the body and the evolutionary life force should not be honored and respected, or that the body is a problem. Absolutely not. What is stated is that the dualistic obsession/fixation and dependence upon the body as an object of possession outside the context or process of everlasting life is merely another severe ignorant (avidya) obscuration (klesha). Rather the yogi knows and honors the body as part of that non-dual all encompassing continuum, not apart from it. In that sense, death is a fake, ultimately in terms of life (living systems). Once we recognize the process, the true nature of mind and nature, then we become free from avidya's obstruction and all kleshic activity. There is no greater insecurity/fear than not knowing who we truly are (the true nature of mind and true nature of nature within an integrated (non-dual) all inclusive context. A question of inquiry may be, whether are human beings independent bodies that exist in a vacuum or is the human body a result of billions of years of co-evolution with the elements, nature/prakriti, and primordial causeless source? Knowing who the human being is in reality, leads to the continuum, likewise recognition of the continuum leads to the recognition of one's true nature. They are inseparable -- the two as one.

As such abhinivesa, like all the other kleshas is a teacher. It represents the truth of the impermanence of all compounded objects (so called solid physical or material things). The remedy to attachment to such fixations upon that which is continuously moving and on fire is, of course, non-attachment (vairagya). Where it is non-attachment to sense objects, one realizes the truth of anicca (impermanence). When it is culminated in the realization of swarupa-sunyam (samadhi as anatta), it is the realization of the non-dual true nature of the mind, of self, and nature as one profound interconnected vast matrix.

Without the death of the physical human body, most humans would grasp onto their limited fixation and identification upon physical life, hence limiting their further vistas of knowledge and perception in the realms of energy and beyond. In this way physical death becomes a great teacher, just as the other kleshas, once we recognize our actual situation beyond the third dimension. Just as an arm is a part of the body, it does not function well apart from the body. Just so, the human body is part of a greater wholistic system of earth, water, air, sun, nature, the intelligent evolutionary force, and primordial original causeless source. As humans on this planet we are a product of this process and hence our experience of that up the present. We do not function apart from that whole, albeit the ordinary dualistic conscious mind may be quite ignorant of that larger ecological process. Hence acknowledging the inevitability of physical death is a step in recognizing our energy body, our wisdom mind, and the true transpersonal nature of nature and mind. For example this is what illusory body, energy body, dream yoga, sleep yoga, phowa (consciousness transference) , and bardo yoga reveal should the yogi be interested.

Ordinarily, the dualistic or egoic mindset associates itself with separateness, dead objects, and dead phenomena, rather than being part of a transpersonal non-dual transconceptual process of eternal becoming. (siva/shakti). Once the eternal is seen in the temporal (nirvana in samsara) and the relative is known within the unified context of the absolute (where differentiated and undifferentiated consciousness is experienced as inseparable) as siva/shakti there will occur consternation about physical death and attachment to physical life or there may be even aversion to physical life and a desire to end it all in a conceptually nihilistic death (the death wish as escape).

When the dualistic egoic mind set (asmita) is given up as a false identification based on avidya (ignorance) then this clinging and fear will vanish -- eternal love will be victorious here in the eternal present. Physical death is a great teacher in so far that it teaches the truth of impermanence and the limitations of mere sensory awareness. Yoga Sutras intend the yogi to go further; that is, to integrate the timeless unlimited in the here and now.

Since most people identify the ego with their body abhinivesa is most often translated as the clinging onto the body or physical existence, but that is another false identification of asmita-raga and asmita-dvesa Rather in deep Now Awareness there is always continuity -- the Great Continuum presents itself in All Our Relations. Thus because of ignorance (avidya) of our true self nature (swarupa), we have these other kleshas (desire of continuity or fear of discontinuity).

Thus this sutra is often translated as:

(The fear of death (abhinivesa) arises (rudah) from the desire for continuity in this life (vahi). It is perpetuated (vahi) even in the learned (viduso) through inclination (svarasa).

This too often leads to the false conclusion that fear of death is instinctual and unavoidable, but here it is pointed out that the recognition of the timeless unbound awareness is is the destroyer of all fear, attachment, fixations, boundaries, and blockages. The yogi has to become aware of the primordial process -- its presence, devoid of conditioned beliefs and fixations. That great continuum of life continues evermore regardless of physical birth and death, regardless of phenomena or form.

Abhinivesa is thus as much a fear of living completely as it is a fear of dying. Abhinivesa arises because of attachment to the limited identity of self as a body in a phenomenal world, rather than understanding the body as an expression of the universal evolutionary life force taking place within the context of primordial time. Hence, it's cause is ignorance; i.e., a mistaken and limited self identification. Since abhinivesa is literally a "desire for continuity" and predictability, while svarasa literally means own (sva) taste (rasa). Svarasa-vahi thus is the attachment or dependency upon the familiar flow of the life energy (prana) in the body mistaking it for Prana-Shakti (universal evolutionary life energy), which is interpenetrated by Maheshvara/purusa, but is not limited to the body. This integration occurs when the body's pranic networks are harmonized internally and aligned with the universal life force (Shakti) without limitations or distortion. Recognition of this universal timeless and intelligent energetic configuration allows the yogi to navigate freely in time and space and beyond time and space limitations.

When the fear of unpredictability is superseded by a greater fear of predictable and limited outcomes, then authentic change will occur (when the predictable outcome is sacrificed at the altar of wisdom). Similarly, when the fear of a predictable outcome is more painful than the fear of unpredictability, then authentic change will occur. Fear of the unknown – the stranger, is the same as fear of something new and different; yet that is where creativity abides – when the fear is overwhelmed by pure presence. Fear of death is like that, as the average person is living in an existential, materialistic, and unexamined "world", where metaphorically speaking, he is blinded by the tree so that the forest is not seen.

In physical death the ego (asmita) loses all possibilities of physical sense gratification and associations with ownership, ego gratification, and its resulting pleasure, hence physical death is a powerful liberation teaching if approached wisely. This fear of death and attachment to life accompanies only those who have not integrated their life with Eternal Source in the Eternal Now -- who have forgotten their innate primordial Now awareness.

Few, except the dedicated yogi, inquires asks what is the false identification of the ego (asmita), who is this self which desires continuity, but more importantly what is human life truly dependent upon, how did it arise, to what happens afterward? A true yogi asks "who am I, what is this 'I', what is this mind", and more important "what is the true nature of the mind as the instrument of knowing, what is the true nature of nature"? A true yogi gets real and true answers wrought by direct experiences, not merely book knowledge or patent answers, which are most often memorized and regurgitated. Certainly false assumptions and identifications with a limited ego or "body-only" consciousness would fabricate various survival anxieties. But if one realizes that as a human being, one is not independent and separate from the evolutionary power and creative source (except in ignorance), then in that wisdom there is no death -- the yogic adept is not separate from the true self -- for him/her an unbroken and uninterrupted continuity/flow has been recognized and achieved.

This problem is mentally conceived. This " fear of death" is created by a trick of the mind where the human mind attempts to grasp onto something which is fluid, temporary, and in motion as if it were solid, fixed,and permanent. That is the error of mistaking the temporary and transient as permanent and absolute. When we wake up we know the true nature of our own mind (swarupa) as being empty of a separate self (sunya) as one and the same with the universal absolute. Until that "S"elf realization, the human being grasps onto false "selves" and suffers from a fear of the formless void. When the human awakens he/she will know the void as a non-dual fullness and all pervasive wholeness, and completion. When we are rejoined in that Great all inclusive Integrity -- the Great Continuity of all beings and things, then there is no longer any desire for continuity. We are that continuity should we realize it in Now Awareness..

It is valuable to note that it is not effective to simply negate the body, mistreat it, punish it, or declare it as an illusion to become free of such fear. Neither will accomplish the abandonment of physical or egoic-mental attachments. Such a negative attitude toward the body by the mind not only creates an increased fixation even more so on the body and the ego, and hence merely acts as an agent of aversion or escapism (dvesa). Rather, consider the body as part of a much greater whole -- the Great Integrity. Rather than to fixate on the body, allow the primordial Self to enter one's field of awareness as NOW Awareness NOW. This way we allow the eternal voice of infinite Love to speak through us now. That way the body is not harmed, rather it is taken care of as the loving arms, legs, speech, and mind of primordial unbounded unending love. That is love loving love, is it not?

The normal ego dominated consciousness, who by definition is stupefied by limited identifications and associations tends to want to perpetuate and defend itself -- to grasp onto things such as, in this case, the human body as an island onto itself. Because the ego (asmita) is lost in ignorance, confusion, and delusion, and hence separated from direct contact with the innate order and meaning of the true Self, it tends to grasp onto "things" as it is has been known; i.e., the ego tries to perpetuate itself in terms of the past. Ordinary non-seekers fear change, defend their egos and views, and habitually define themselves within a rigid and tight framework of reference which they cling to. Such a stubborn klesha tends to obscure our larger transpersonal non-dual identity with All Our Relations -- the larger Self. As such it obscures vidya (clarity). That is the literal translation of this sutra. That creates a rut; the prison of seeking out predictability in the old order, and thus one resists change and spiritual growth being locked into a self perpetuating prison of "the already known". Thus this sutra is most often interpreted as a statement of some type of fear of physical death, but in reality Patanjali is addressing ego death. Since the physical body is the most common and most coarse false identification of the ego, most interpreters thus take this sutra only in its most dense and coarse sense (of fearing physical death) and the known world of the sense objects. Hence, this is a subset of asmita, where the sense of ownership is attached to the physical body and hence the sense world and hence the physical universe/creation of differentiated consciousness. It's quite a large dependency to let go of, but focused dependence upon isvara/purusa HERE and NOW in terms of NOW awareness can provide for such.

From the point of view of the body, the ultimate sacrifice may seem to be physical death. For an egoic being it may be one's fame, accomplishments, or egoic possessions. However, for a loving mother or bodhisattva the ultimate sacrifice would be one's bodhi-citta (their transpersonal innate compassionate intention to liberate all beings). Hence, in yoga practices the contemplation on physical death as well as the death of all egoic associations, which are to be mastered. In tantra yoga this is done through such practices as dream yoga, illusory body yoga, tummo/kundalini, bardo yoga, phowa, and/or chod. Eventually through surrendering the ego, the innate bodhicitta is realized. It is THAT simple, simpler and more subtle than the most subtle, but the ego has many defense mechanisms and mental habits that require unwinding in unconditional surrender.

Over time, the word, svarasa has become "interpreted" as meaning physiological, instinctual, or genetic inclination; while abhinivesa has been "interpreted" as desire for physical existence or even clinging to life); but readers should be notified that although such connotative interpretations are common, they are not based on the Sanskrit meaning. Rather, we first have to know ourselves, and that includes how human beings co-evolved on the planet. Then we can get a sense of "who" dies, if anyone, in a transpersonal and non-dual way without discontinuity or a lack of integrity.

If we take the larger view, then any clinging onto physicality devoid of energetic or spiritual integration will be incomplete and act as a cause unhappiness (duhkha). In other words, how can we fear the discontinuity of eternal love or consciousness, when we are firmly centered in the experience of its continuity? It is only when we feel separated and disconnected from that eternal flow, does the fear of discontinuity and death arise. That is, clinging onto the physical body is only one example of abhinivesa.This confusion occurs because one has mistaken the individual life force (prana) which flows through the physical body) as the Prana (with a capitol "P") which permeates the universe. Indeed these two pranas are to be integrated and harmonized, but as one's non-dual realization free from the limitations of time and place matures, free from subject/object duality, then one identifies with the Long Body of the Iroquois, the Great Integrity -- the self luminous seed source that underlies Prana-Shakti who is nothing other than Maheshvara (Siva). Svarasa thus becomes replaced with svarupa-sunya, the true form which is free from temporal existence yet permeates it thoroughly..

In short, a further conceptual abomination is added to this possible conundrum, when we take abhinivesah as the clinging onto physical existence (or to say it another way the fear of a physical end through ignoring the all-creating primordial). Why, because this error in identification with just the personal physical body is the result of the insecurity due to not fully accepting life as temporal, not flowing with impermanence while grasping onto the limited thought forms of a separate self, and negating the true nature of nature, which is always dancing. Grasping on to something that will disappear is indeed rather frightening. That is a false identification or error of mentation. Ii is an error in judgment that concludes that the earth and the body are discontinuous with the universe and its origin (shakti/shiva)-- that the continuity of eternal spirit -- of Sacred Presence - is not present. It is the fear of the unknown and death -- of discontinuity itself (the perpetuation of the self or familiar ordered structure which underlies that specific fear. It is of course due to ignorance of the innate order -- of knowing the self within. Thus abhinivesa is based on the illusion of death or rather the materialistic over emphasis that is most often placed upon an exclusive physical existence which is not harmonized with a living creation story -- with a living and present all inclusive omnipresent god. Physical death is feared by those who have not integrated (joined) the eternal with the living -- spirit and nature (or purusha with prakriti) in the eternal now (while living). This union accomplishes kaivalya, absolute and unconditional liberation.

A third abomination of fear and withdrawal is added which is a dissociation/isolation from life and nature as well as the body by those who are afraid of death. They reason that by NOT identifying with the body or nature, then they will be spared the pangs of dissolution/disintegration at death. In short by NOT living, they can not die. So this becomes a fear of life and living life fully. here one resists SAT (experience and beingness) in the fear it will be killed and taken away from one. One thus is afraid to be and even experience pleasure (bhoga). Fear prevents pure being; its root being confusion (avidya). This fear is really not death anxiety, rather it is more perfectly considered as asmita anxiety, due to false identification and confusion.

Physical death is the big unknown only if one has not first fully investigated and understood where the body and the universe has originated (shakti or prakriti). The insecurity occurs when one has not integrated the "timeless uncreated eternal" (Maheshvara or Purusa) as a living continuity or presence in their daily life. For these people suffering from the ignorance (avidya) of false and limited identifications of ego (asmita) death is frightening, because it represents a discontinuity/disruption. The fear of death represents the end of everything that they think they possess or are holding onto including their identification of "self" as the assumption of an ego who is surrounded by a bag of bones and temporal objects (possessions or "other' people). In that limited way, then physical death becomes equated with the great fear of losing "everything"-- total annihilation. But such fear is based on a limited (ignorant) dualistic assumption of separateness with a living creation/creator (Shiva/Shakti) in the first place. So what needs to die in "reality" is only the delusion (ego) of separateness. With that the fear dies as well.

Although, abhinivesa is more commonly translated as attachment to the physical body and its physiological function (and hence the fear of its cessation), when we become attached to that imperishable great integrity, which encompasses our many rounds of births from beginningless time, in All Our Relations, then even though these physiological functions are to be honored and respected, they will not dominate our emotions, create fear or false grasping, nor pain (duhkha). It's temporal nature will thus be acknowledged and respected, at the simultaneously as we acknowledge the imperishable -- as we integrate self within Self -- crown with root -- spirit and nature, Shiva/shakti.

It is a profound truism that until the fear of physical death is overcome, the fear of life will always be present. We must acknowledge, respect, and cherish the human form for what it is, temporary , subject to disease, old age, and death. Then we do not become complacent (like the devas) and do not waste our time here. With this wise perspective we can maximize our opportunity for spiritual practice (sadhana). The certainty of physical death actually helps us to embrace the larger Self that connects us with all of life, all of creation, as well as uncreated Source which is unending/timeless and eternally present.

Physiological death is always part of an ongoing process of continual transformation on the physical plane (shakti) and thus Siva is the traditional governing deity of the end of manifestation as transformation/death. This sutra assumes that inherent to the body, there exists a self sustaining life preserving intelligence -- the innate life supporting energy (prana) intelligence that is part of prana-shakti which animates the entire universe. When the yogi's body/mind has become purified, refined, and tempered through authentic yogic sadhana then one's consciousness merges with shakti (nature's creative force) -- one's prana shakti merges with cit-shakti, kundalini shakti, and para-shakti. Then the continuity of eternal consciousness (Shiva/shakti) is harmonized in the body just as siva/shakti as represented in prana/shakti are harmonized in the gross physical body -- spirit and nature -- the body and the mind -- heaven and earth work in harmony, love, and synchronicity in All Our Relations. This is where we go for true nurturance and support - to the love that never dies. Here there is no fear of death nor attachment to physical objects, rather only ETERNAL LOVE and life.

There is only one instance where one is still in avidya and also does not fear death, which occurs by those who are severely afflicted with dvesa (aversion) so that their pain and suffering in life are so great, that they crave the end of their physical existence. here the pain of continuing to live is greater than the pain of annihilation (suicide). Such have an opportunity to attain realization at this time, by letting go of all attachments and embracing the eternal, but unfortunately more often this opportunity for vidya is over-powered by dvesa and ignorance (avidya). the dying process has thus been part of spiritual traditions and practices for waking up. The dying process being an integral part of the living process, thus fully coming to terms with death, allows us to also fully come to terms with life without fear.

What is all too common is that the fear of death will be so strong so that it inhibits/restricts the full embrace of living -- people contract from experience and duck life. In fact since physical birth is the cause of physical death (everybody dies), many people unconsciously run away from life in the mistaken hope that they will escape death (by not fully accepting their birth). For these people life is judged as full of grief and (duhkha), as scary -- full of aversion, fear, hatred, sin, and evil, because they so much fear dying, misidentifying ego loss and physical death nihilistically as a personal annihilation. Another factor here to consciously harmonize is to respect the body's natural intelligence and instinct to stay alive and to maintain life (resist disease and death). As above, aversion to life will not save us, and as such attachment to it only creates aversion to death.

“I'm not me.
I'm the one who walks by my side
Without my noticing.
The one I visit often and often I forget.
He who remains silent when I speak,
Who forgives gently, when I hated
Who wanders away, where I am not,
Who will remain standing when I die.”
~ Juan Ramon Jimenez

The Fear of Living/Being and the Fear of Death

A tension arises when we do not know Self or live a life in harmony with reality-as-it-is. It is a state of ignorance where the intelligent primordial/evolutionary energy is blocked, where primordial timeless consciousness is blocked and consequently obstructed. Normally the egoic mindset desires to end or release that tension/blockage through various neurotic activities governed by raga and dvesa (and hence asmita and avidya), Thus the ego driven person misses their true purpose in life By fearing death we actually limit life, hence such activities that are governed by the fear of death (abhinivesa) are dysfunctional. We have a fear of living because we can not accept physical death. That is characterized by being guarded, distrustful, close-minded, shut down, paranoid, cynical, protective, and armored while placing trust in external authoritarian, cultural, social, nationalistic, ethnic, or religious institutions that promise to protect us. These are characteristics which are the opposite is being natural, open, spontaneous, trusting inside, loving, and honest.

That malaise is based on the grasping onto "a separate self" and defining “other”; an I/it dualistic system based on separation. On the other hand, natural and open being is based on a non-dual realization of self as a vital participation with the great community of All Our Relations. The former is of course fear based and carries with it much tension and anxiety. To open into life without fear or guardedness is courage we find especially in the new born. It is innate vital drive that stems from the evolutionary power (shakti kundalini) that brings us naturally into alignment with the Greater Community of All Our Relations -- being in harmony with nature and natural systems in all ways. The programming of fear and the repression of the innate evolutionary power in mankind is a crime. It is the result of negative programming, while yoga is a powerful effective deprogramming tool -- the medicine.

Because of this fear of death, the fear of life and its consequential tensions and stress is created. Then there arises a desire to end this fear. In one's desire to escape the fear, tension, and pain in life often there is generated a death wish, hence what appears as a contradiction (the fear of life and the fear of death) are really part and parcel of the same process. The evolutionary power is thus subverted/perverted into an unconscious death wish as a means of escape. Hence we see the rise of violent death cultures who torture their citizens, neighbors, wage war continually, enslave others, and even poison and destroy their own ecosystems and hence ability to survive. They consciously or unconsciously expect death to be their final liberation and reward (the ultimate end of suffering) in terms of the destruction and negation of life and hence their salvation with an absent God who can not be found HERE. This self hatred forms the foundation of further externalized acts of violence, destruction, and hatred aimed at others and the world in general. The desire to end one's pain and suffering can be easily externalized to the desire to end the world. The desire to end this suffering and to kill the ego, can extend to the creation of a death culture where killing others is "doing them a favor".

Through his work as a psychologist, Erich Fromm developed an advanced theory of necrophilia as a pathological character orientation which is not necessarily sexual. It is expressed in an attraction to that which is dead or totally controlled. At the extreme, it results in wanton destructiveness and a hatred of life. Fromm, also developed his theory of biophilia (love of living systems), which is the opposite of necrophilia. For Fromm, unlike Freud's death instinct, necrophilia is not biologically determined (genetic) but results from social conditioning.

"Fromm believed that the lack of love in the western society and the attraction to mechanistic control leads to necrophilia. Other factors include; the impact of modern weapon systems, idolatry of technology, and the treatment of people as things in bureaucracy."

from Wikipedia

Both Freud and Fromm defined psychoanalysis as the art of making the unconscious conscious, a kind of assisted study of self. Both recognized that humans resist knowing the truth and that for lasting therapeutic change to occur, that resistances must be overcome. They differed on ascribing the causes of the resistance and hence their remediation/treatments differed also. Fromm believed repression is a becomes ingrained where the subject will habitually resist new perceptions, new ways of relating, knowing, experiencing, and being because of fear of contradicting his /her peers, parents, society, religion, or perceived support/security structure allows Remaining inside those bounds (prisons) is more comfortable because the truth would force the subject to question one's irrational beliefs, while deconstructing all one believes as self and other. One's sense of "self" so defined would be more than threatened, but rather completely shattered and annihilated. Fromm believed that inside every being is a profound love for life (biophilia) which when repressed creates anger, self hatred, violence and destructive tendencies. Hence therapy was designed to liberate this innate drive allowing the subject to be its expression.

Destructiveness is not parallel to, but the alternative to biophilia. Love of life, or love of the dead is the fundamental alternative that confronts every human being. Necrophilia grows as the development of biophilia is stunted. Man is biologically endowed with the capacity for biophilia, but psychologically he has the capacity for necrophilia as an alternative solution."

Erich Fromm, p. 366, the Heart of Man. 1973.

Many people feel trapped or crushed by "the world" situation, phenomena, objects of thought, "reality", or rather how they frame events and hence in a desperate way strike back attempting to crush the world and hence escape from the oppressive crush of it. When this becomes institutionalized in a society, it is in this context of a violent death culture emerges, with a strong death wish, where we see the fear of life and the desire for death to be the result of a deeply perverted sense of self and belonging with all of creation, nature, and life. Hence the fear of death (death anxiety) becomes dysfunctionally a desire for death. First we will examine the fear of death anxiety.

Ernest Becker, the well known social psychologist, would say that the greatest problematical challenge or fear to the egoic mindset is a death anxiety, but yoga may simply say that it is an ego anxiety (a fear of the death of one’s beliefs that reinforce the sense of separate “I” that is defended and armored around). Anything that challenges this belief increases the victims defensiveness and hostility. Such is the crust that must be cut through. Although correct that Generative Death Anxiety (GDA) is a major vector in modern ego oriented society, Becker misses the alternative. GDA is widespread precisely because one has become inured to asmita and avidya, hence death means to those mindsets oblivion or a catatonic nothingness. Not so to the yogi. Rather death of the ego releases the limited small self mired in the citta-vrtti and kleshic consciousness. Ego death means great bliss and richness beyond measure.

Daniel Liechty, in his Introduction to "Death and Denial: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Legacy of Ernest Becker".writes;

"This book draws together original contributions from a wide spectrum of scholars and professionals. Each of the twenty five chapters i interacts with Ernest Becker's theory of Generative Death Anxiety (GDA) from the perspective of the writers' specialized expertise, cumulatively demonstrating the utility of GDA as an interdisciplinary organizing principle for the humanities and social sciences.

The theory of Generative Death Anxiety (GDA) suggests that at the deepest level, human behavior is motivated by the unavoidable need to shield oneself from consciousness of human mortality. … Whether pictured as friend or enemy, as he great leveler or as the fruit of sin and divine abandonment, human beings have never been without reminders that death is a problem quite unlike any other. … it is [the] clash between the living, instinctual will to survive and the knowledge that we will not survive, that forms the unique contours of the human psychological condition. … GDA theory suggests that while the original reaction of the human psyche in relation to its awareness of death is to deny and repress it, this move itself is predicated on the ability to view death/mortality and life/immortality as a complex symbol. This produces a generative effect in which the move to deny and repress awareness of death and mortality is commonly expressed in an urge toward creativity and accumulation—to make one's mark on the world and thus conquer death and insignificance on the symbolic level. The nexus of desire-motivation-action in every human endeavor … is tinged in various degree by the need to suppress the fact of mortality from immediate conscious awareness, and insist, as it were, that we are anything but fleeting, perishable, transient, insignificant specks of nothing in the universe..."

So in Becker, like in most other Western frameworks, the former, an ego identity, is composed of an isolated "I" and “the other” or "I" and “it”. When one grasps at something solid, then they become attached (at least subliminally) to the body, its sense objects, and life. However if the affirmation of this life entails an implicate physical “death” (subliminally if not rationally), then this becomes an attachment which causes death anxiety in the ego oriented individual, because inherent to this attachment is death and hence the dissolution of what the ego thinks is a “self” and their world – a total sense of nothing/nihilism, disintegration, or oblivion (abhinivesa) of the ego. Thus if we approach life from the point of view of the ego, there is inherent much anxiety. However if we live life within the context of Continuity (yoga) there is no such anxiety generated.

So it comes to pass that in specific group illusions (shared delusions) the human mind invents the illusion of physical immortality or a heaven where one does not die, such in the idea of personal salvation, in order to assuage these mind generated fears. Hence such promises of immortality are attractive to fear filled and confused people, especially when they are confronted with death anxiety or messages of death, destruction, hell, sin, and/or suffering and violence.

This mental fabrication or invention of heaven is not needed if the ego would undergo a contemplation on the impermanence of the body, and eventually recognize the beginningless reality before life and after death – the eternal continuity of the ages in his/her present life HERE and NOW – integrated and recognized as the spiritual presence in All Our Relations.

But because most people are not trained to recognize this subtle and spacious innate freedom and openness filled with compassionate energy, but rather are conditioned to ignore it and be distracted to the objects of the senses, then in one attempts to seek fulfillment, pleasure, or security in physical constructs as “reality” (say in consumption of objects and/or social/cultural identifications and status), one becomes one’s own victim of by being preoccupied by conforming to social/cultural expectations, identifying with social constructs, mores, status systems, consumer patterns, religious structures, family games, seeking to control or dominate situations or “others” – in short an involvement, attachment, and dependence on external systems that are subject to change is established which when threatened tends to again increase insecurity, anxiety, and hostility.

This compensatory desire to become one with something bigger than the isolated ego, will never be fulfilled until one has merged totally so that the ego dissolves entirely from its self created cocoon or self created sense of separation (ego). In short instead of the ego becoming the universal consumer or universal ruler in order to gain fulfillment in a far distant heaven or nirvana, all one has to do is dissolve the sense of separate self (ego) freeing the mind/body to enter that realm of total integration in the present. In short all one has to do is to become more accustomed to one’s natural un-programmed and unconditional true nature.

Thus to reiterate the most negative motivation is fear and confusion from which all one’s nightmares and sufferings become fabricated. For the ego materialist then the ultimate fear is physical death or dissolution. The most negative fabricated ideation thus based on fear is the invention of an other worldly ego oriented personal immortality, by discarding or sacrificing the present earth reality – or nature. This drive becomes the ultimate perversion when one becomes convinced that their ticket to heaven and immortality is dependent upon the ultimate sacrifice to God, the killing of the evil other, those who do not support their illusion, The greatest suffering, violence, cruelty, and destruction has been caused by this negative motivation, through crusades, martyrdom, religious or ideological wars, nationalistic or ethnic war, killing the “other” and destroying “evil” with the dream that one will find immortality in another “world” or life (heaven). Some where the human chronically is convinced that through this sacrifice, then they will finally attain peace, anywhere of course, but here and now.

Such people become attached to their belief and ideology, as it promises salvation as escape from bodily existence/nature. When such beliefs appear threatened by “others” beliefs they are more than willing to convince the other that they are wrong or misguided, or in more extreme situations more than willing to annihilate them. Any ideology that promises peace, happiness, or spiritual fulfillment by meting out violence, punishment, torture, meanness, destruction, social disparity, unhappiness to others (suffering), can be considered unjust and criminal in regards to the human community. And that’s the inherent problem with ideology coming first. Evil is simply a useful contrivance by ideologists to make adherents locked in to “being good” by opposing/fighting the other ideology. Such a puerile mechanism promises instant self esteem, a meaningful life, and a welcome validation of self worth for people who suffer from confusion and low self worth. Rather fulfillment and inner peace does not reside in that direction of fear and hatred, of opposing “evil”, of being anti-this or anti-that. At the core that is simply ingrained fear.

Our true life potential is much more spacious and creative when we reclaim it and align with it. So one can change one’s society’s collective dream and vision once one has awakened to how the old dream arrived and what the new non-dual vision is. An essential part of the process IS TO RECLAIM OUR ABILITY TO FEEL IN THE BODY and resisting those who would tell us that natural function is evil and that one is a sinner or evil to feel. That is where the disconnection from the body and fear of the life force (prana) in the body as well as in all other living begins. That is the basis which justifies crusades, the demonization and annihilation of other life forms, habitat, and other people. Once some one has lost their sensitivity about life and has disconnected themselves from direct experience with the subtle but powerful self organizing energy fields which we use to communicate in a universal language with all beings and things, then they are ripe candidates for demagogues and dogma. They no longer trust themselves, so they also do not trust others. They do violence to their own bodies and habitat and hence are capable of doing violence to others. They have given up personal responsibility by fabricating faith in a belief that tells them that their savior will come and take them away. If they attempt to do anything responsible, then it is a sign that they do not have true faith/belief. That kind of belief system is most definitely pernicious to life forms on the planet.

Thus to summarize there is a direct relationship between spontaneous FEELING good, following your bliss, listening to our bodies, honoring our bodies, instinct, intuition, being moved by nature, spontaneous natural expression and function and the pursuit of happiness such as found in democratic systems and liberal values, complete openness and openheartedness, non-biased balance and equanimity, a heart felt direct sense of community and justice, indigenous values, etc, on one hand. That is not the result of ideology nor artifice, but the result of direct experience.

On the other hand control, repression, fear, the distrust of the body, distrust of spontaneity, repression and control of instinct, the suppression of intuition, the ignorance of inner promptings and inner wisdom, fear of nature and natural process, the neurotic need to be in control of the body and nature, fear of death and hence fear of life, meaning and order misplaced onto external authoritarian systems, paranoia (of the other) or xenophobia in general, all reinforces misplaced trust in external systems of order and control, police state mentalities, state terrorism, penal systems based on torture and punishment, systems based on threats and fear as negative motivators, close mindedness, close heartedness, bias, prejudice, increasing dependence upon ideology and belief/faith based systems, loyalty, patriotism, flag waving, shutdown, obedience to authority, need to identify with authority/good, and eventually unquestioning resignation/obedience to an ideology that demands chronic unhappiness and destruction of the earth as proof of its self fulfilling estrangement from and demonization of nature where happiness and salvation/heaven is found in another alien world.

Specifically one is free to critically analyze all of the above factors in the above two paragraphs in detail describing their common and parallel connections (how one leads to the other and are interconnected) and/or we can contemplate on them as an inter-related whole, but in general, it is clear that one can discern that one direction leads to lasting unconditional happiness, openness, and spontaneous creative expression; while the other direction leads to delusion, self fabrication, suffering, restriction, suffocation, repression – the tragedy of dualistic existence (cyclic existence or bondage).

A mature or practiced meditator knows that a very spacious open hearted identity taken to the extreme, is no separate identity at all. When the ego dissolves the heart opens. Then there is no need for ideology, moral systems, obedience to conceptual thought processes, systemization of good or evil, systems based on rote memory, belief, faith, or punishment. Direct core/heart experience is the infallible remedy for all the maladies of self absorption, asmita, and ego separation. Thus love’s wisdoms or wisdom’s love is the simple and most accessible remedy for all the above afflictions. No fancy or expensive deprogramming or reentry remediation facilities are needed when we go directly to source, integrate with that, and allow that to flow through the human heartmind vehicle. That's the direct path of kriya yoga, however, once the ego has contracted and split off from nature's evolutionary power in the egoic mind, a barrier is thus erected protecting that egoic identity (asmita). That protective shell resists being cracked open wide to rest in pure daylight. That is the touch samsaric mechanism of habituated citta-vrtti that must be surrendered in order for spiritual evolution for the common man to proceed..

So even more succinctly put, it should be obvious that the more common path is characterized by the contraction into (egoic) self absorption, fear, pride, jealousy, anger, false identification, and other egoic self-made prisons, while the opposite direction is the expression of openness and spontaneous love that leads to a non-dual realization where no effort is necessary – freely manifested and expressed.

All of us have been exposed to negative programming and attempts at mind manipulation to an extent because the modern world is rife with fear and people holding onto belief systems )pramana). One cannot predict exactly how someone, who has been exposed to such severe ideological programming since the womb, eventually breaks free; but yoga says that it is possible to reclaim one’s life and live a creative and empowered life “afterwards” free from fear and inhibition. In fact after going through the process of such a disillusionment (an ego death), that one is far more empowered than the average person who had not been so compromised at a young age. Just to say that there is a way out (which is a way in), for those who feel that they are trapped.

The Death Wish

The yogic path which succeeds this painful trap of the ego, is ego death. That takes place in samadhi as swarupa-sunyam (III.3). It takes place in kriya yoga as true self study, true tapas, and true isvara pranidhana. All the practices lead to it. To the egoic mind samadhi will appear as a threat, but it is a great gift -- a tremendous expansion and enrichment of who one previously thought they were. The world opens up as the third eye opens. Instead of retreating into numbness and ignorance, one's reaction is to remain open.

For the common man, ego death is equated with physical death. That is a huge but common error. That misidentification occurs in non-meditators and non-practitioners -- those with no insight into the true nature of mind. Hence Kali with her sword and garland of skulls is seen as a murderer rather than a liberator from ego, while change and transformation (Siva) is generally feared or unsettling. Since the egoic mindset is a self perpetuated prison that ties one into the samsaric world through unconscious and compulsive mechanisms, then on an unconscious level ego death is associated with physical death. Mistakenly many people then decide (consciously or not) that ending their life will end the wheel of suffering. Hence they engineer self destructive mechanisms, illnesses, wars, situations, ecocides, suicide, or other self destructive situations in the subconscious desire to end their suffering/unhappiness. We have already discussed "Death Anxiety" and its resultant stress and tension (see Ernest Becker above). Those tensions desire relief/outlet. One way completely dysfunctional way is to end one's life -- suicide, ecocide, or the unconscious death wish. Of course these subconscious death wish mechanisms are pathological, the common man would be very surprised how widespread they are. Many religions actually are attempts to escape embodied life in order to find spirit or god after physical death. Sigmund Freud describes this death wish ("unsterblichkeit") in detail. Erich Fromm has written many books on psychology, "Escape from Freedom" being one where he masterfully outlines man's fear of freedom and escape from life and living systems as a pathological syndrome. In short when "life" becomes more preferable than death, then we have a healthy situation as long as non-attachment (vairagya) is implemented, but if mankind throws life in a negative spin, then death becomes preferential. Pathological activity as well as sociopathic activity is a matter of values -- choose life or choose death, as the saying goes. So instead of choosing death, the sane and healthy choice is choosing change -- ego death and rebirth here in this very life!

"Fromm distinguishes between ‘Freedom From’ (negative freedom) and ‘freedom to’ (positive freedom). The former refers to the process of becoming emancipated from the restrictions placed on humanity by other people or institutions. This has often been fought for historically but is not of much inherent value unless accompanied by a creative element, ‘freedom to’; the use of freedom to behave in ways which are constructive and respond to the genuine needs and wants of the free individual/society by creating a new system of social order. In the process of becoming emancipated from an overbearing authority/set of values, Fromm argues, we are often left with feelings of emptiness and anxiety (he likens this process to the individuation of infants in the normal course of child development) that will not abate until we use our ‘freedom to’ and develop some form of replacement of the old order. He characterises this as a dialectic historical process whereby the original situation is the thesis and the emancipation from it the antithesis. The synthesis is only reached when something has replaced the original order and provided humans with a new security....

As ‘freedom from’ is not an experience we enjoy in itself, Fromm suggests that many people, rather than utilising it successfully, attempt to minimise its negative effects by developing thoughts and behaviours that provide some form of security. These are as follows:

  1. Authoritarianism: Fromm characterises the authoritarian personality as containing a sadist element and a masochist element. The authoritarian wishes to gain control over other people in a bid to impose some kind of order on the world, they also wish to submit to the control of some superior force which may come in the guise of a person or an abstract idea.
  2. Destructiveness: Although this bears a similarity to sadism, Fromm argues that the sadist wishes to gain control over something. A destructive personality wishes to destroy something it cannot bring under its control.
  3. Conformity: This process is seen when people unconsciously incorporate the normative beliefs and thought processes of their society and experience them as their own. This allows them to avoid genuine free thinking, which is likely to be anxiety provoking."

From "Fear of Freedom" article

Without empowering the healthy instinct toward change (the innate urge toward biophilia) because of the repression of the evolutionary power, tension arises within those prison walls which desires relief/release or venting -- a pathological desire to end the suffering and self induced torture through death, death transference, or violence transfer inflicting such on self and/or others. Such is a modern widespread pathology. Freud has written about the "death drive" as an escape from life, but ascribes to it a genetic cause (a flaw of nature) with his "unsterblichkeit" theory of dissociation (freedom from) from the body and hence existence as the ultimate escape (playing both sides of the fence). It was Otto Rank, Freud's closest early student, who was more concerned about this mechanism, but it was most likely Ernest Becker who has written the most about this unconscious death wish in his books such as "Escape from Evil" and the "Denial of Death"discussing the mechanism more fully.

"The theory of Generative Death Anxiety (GDA) suggests that at the deepest level, human behavior is motivated by the unavoidable need to shield oneself from consciousness of human mortality. … Whether pictured as friend or enemy, as he great leveler or as the fruit of sin and divine abandonment, human beings have never been without reminders that death is a problem quite unlike any other. … it is [the] clash between the living, instinctual will to survive and the knowledge that we will not survive, that forms the unique contours of the human psychological condition. … GDA theory suggests that while the original reaction of the human psyche in relation to its awareness of death is to deny and repress it, this move itself is predicated on the ability to view death/mortality and life/immortality as a complex symbol. This produces a generative effect in which the move to deny and repress awareness of death and mortality is commonly expressed in an urge toward creativity and accumulation—to make one's mark on the world and thus conquer death and insignificance on the symbolic level. The nexus of desire-motivation-action in every human endeavor … is tinged in various degree by the need to suppress the fact of mortality from immediate conscious awareness, and insist, as it were, that we are anything but fleeting, perishable, transient, insignificant specks of nothing in the universe..."

"Death and Denial: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Legacy of Ernest Becker", By Daniel Liechty, ed., Westport CT: Praeger Publishers, 2002. It is thus not a contradiction that death anxiety (fear of death) not only prevents us from living life most freely and fully, but also creates the death urge -- the desire for death as final release from the repressed, painful, and/or deadened and un- meaningful experience of life.

Thanatos versus Eros

Freud, in latter years, referenced the death instinct (which has been translated as Thanatos) as an overriding principle that supersedes the drive for pleasure. There are many ways to interpret "Thanatos", but in a nutshell, it is in the death of the old, that gives rise to the dawn of a whole new and fresh awareness. Fear and attachment of course resists this death; therefore one is encouraged to surrender to death and receive ever-lasting life. This is not a contradiction, if we see death, as the dissolution of our imprisoned mind, the ego delusion, or the dissolution of illusion -- as in disillusionment, or the classic "dark night of the soul" as the journey to union with god as told by St, John of the Cross. That would be the positive definition such as letting go of the old and surrendering to the present. However, if we take the death wish as a means of self-oblivion, as an escape, or and end in itself; then it is indeed negatively self-destructive and pathological. When this type of endgame is entertained it can destroy Eros. When death is feared or resisted, then all sorts of neurosis are generated in the forms of escapism, denial, the concretization of illusory beliefs and identifications. Mainly spiritual stagnation in the form of the lack of bright and dynamic awareness sets in, which in itself is a death. This demanding tension is not healthy. It is caused by a mistaken/dualistic view of "self" and the "the world".

Where Erich Fromm saw this as a war between biophilia and necrophilia, Freudians termed it as a tension between Thanatos and Eros (life instinct and death instinct). Through the death instinct, Freud attempted to explain the reason why people risked death or exalted in risk taking. Rather than Thanatos being an innate natural drive, it can be more easily explained merely as the repression of eros (the drive for connectivity and union/reintegration with nature). When that union is thwarted/repressed then one seeks compensatory (neurotic) methods such as thrill seeking, risk taking, or other activities that may tend to stimulate a sleepy and dulled eros. If one is so oppressed, their world view tends toward the macabre, sordid, nihilistic, and indifferent, resulting in sociopathic and/or self destructive behavior. In an evolutionary way, the acceptance of impermanence (death) in so far that all things are in motion and impermanent gives reign to Eros. However, when the fear of death reigns, then Eros is oppressed, and thus either Eros or Thanatos may try to express itself in erratic or bi-polar ways.

Carl Jung took Eros and Logos to be in opposition, where Logos, as order and logic, imposed itself upon Eros (uncontrolled wildness). The dynamic is characterized by the classic male (Logos) and female (Eros) duality or in this case split. Here wilderness or Eros can be represented by the right brain;, while Logos or rational intellectualized order is represented by the left brain. In yoga we reconnect, unite, and obtain a non-dual unity consciousness. If te left brain (logic) is dominant to the degree where it represses or kills Eros (the urge to live and evolve) then Logos acts as killer, not only in opposition to the eros inside the psyche, but to others as well. That domination of logos is the bane of modern society with its overly dominant left brain control function.

Natural creation has an innate order to it that is beyond the human intellect to conceive. In that sense, that Logos is not a function of the human intellect, rather intellectual ability and intelligence is dependent upon it. Similarly, Natural Creation (evolutionary force) has an innate evolutionary force or energy, which can be termed Eros. Thus Eros and Logos are two aspects of an undivided whole or whologram.

Similarly, in yoga, Siva is the Supreme teacher. Siva is often described as the destroyer and is associated with death and dissolution. Indeed Shiva dances in the new world and gives it birth after the old is surrendered into dissolution. Siva is the agent of transformation of the old imprisoned consciousness, into its next incarnation. Sometimes Siva is called the lord of death.

Ego Death

The basic idea of holding tightly onto our grief and pain is of course fundamentally flawed, but because of ignorance/confusion, human beings compulsively often do just that. One may ask, "who" does that morbid attachment serve other than the pain body (the egoic dependent "self") which self inflicts/afflicts more pain and grief in our lives? The pain body is held together by karma and can be also described as the karmic body. Is pain good? Is grief good? Is death bad? These circumstances are determined by a limited self identification called ego attempts to survive (serve to self perpetuate itself. The ego is that very same false identification which is made by the conceptual dualistic mind. This error of the mind assumes subconsciously falsely that if physical death were "bad" or undesirable, than birth is also bad (because physical birth is the cause of physical death). Again these false assumptions are made sub-consciously and held together compulsively via self protective defensive/aggressive egoic mechanisms. However if another (non-egoic "self" were able to accept the temporal nature of the body and ego while CELEBRATING its temporal nature as an expression of infinite love, then “who” is it that dies no longer becomes an unthinkable black hole of fear, rather one identifies with who/what continues to live. Yes universal transpersonal non-dual and definitely transconceptual Universal Self (Brahman) lives HERE ETERNALLY but not as a separate/individual "self". It is not an ego. That is who we really are, if we dare to embrace it or accept its possibility. True unfettered unconditional love never dies!

On the other hand human beings have adopted this cult of fear and pain that is crying to be defeated. It says that life is scary, it is painful, “bad” things are happening, “life” is bad because “death is bad” -- hence one feels threatened, insecure, inadequate and needy. That is what the ego fixation surrounded by the "haunting" bag of bones when one identifies as a separate body from the life force, creation, nature, and shiva/shakti. That separation created by the fragmented mind establishes a false identification and dualistic mindset fraught with fear and doom for one who has bought into this false assumption. Of course in Reality there exists a vast non-dual beginningless Reality that will never die. That is why Patanjali specifically mentions abhinivesa as one of the chief kleshas built upon ignorance (avidya), asmita (ego), raga (attachment), and dvesa (aversion). This cult of fear and doom is opposed to the above mentioned belief that Unending Intelligent Loving Source presence is always present -- is All There Is in Everything all the time. This last experience and resultant realization is what wholistic non-dual yoga is all about.

In functional yoga the human body, life, nature, creation and the creative/evolutionary power are viewed as an operational integrity in harmony with infinite Source acting as a spontaneous and wise integrator -- a co-evolutionary instrument in creation for creativity and evolution - as divine willpower and moral courage together. Here body, nature, and beginningless Source are all aligned and act as one in a profound natural synchronicity. Here divine will and individual will are synchronized; earth and heaven; muladhara/sahasrara chakras joined through the sushumna; conflict, stress, and duality are destroyed. Here the profound teachings of the three bodies ((physical, energy/astral, and spirit bodies). the five koshas, the bindu, winds, and channels are all integrated as divine seva -- love in action (perfect karma and bhakti yoga). Here there is no lack of continuity from birth to death, from before birth to after death. Rather for the yogi, this evolutionary power is Here/now -- present in All Our Relations.

So here abhinivesa is remediated as a profound teaching, that when known in pure gnosis aligns one's neurophysiology, biopsychic instrument, energy field, and mind connected in total harmony with the unconditioned universal evolutionary life force -- the source of spiritual non-dual universal and eternal love and healing! Once one experiences and realizes the continuity (yoga) that always exists here and now -- the "always-is" beginningless "never-ending" sacred presence of All Our Relations, then the fear of the discontinuity of temporal existence will also disappear. Physical bodies may come and go -- come and go -- but eternal spirit -- ineffable LOVE is all-ways HERE. This is the simultaneous realization of both the immanent and transcendent Self as one Great Integrity -- a continuous sacred presence.

So here the fear of physical death, ego death, discontinuity, or self annihilation where one has identified as a separate self is completely replaced by the culmination of the desire for the immortal divine life -- the realization of the Eternal Self or sacred presence Here and Now. This continuity (yoga) is known by the wise as asamprajnata (non-dual) and nirbij (seedless) samadhi. Avidya is extinguished and replaced by vidya (clear vision).

The tragic fear of death that haunts human beings, also cripples them. This is because being afraid of death, creates a fear of life. More so, if one spends their entire life dependent upon their physical brain, when that organ starts to fade in old age, sickness, and death, then a claustrophobic fear ensues. On the other hand a life where the body is dependent upon the evolutionary force, is enlivened and is built upon that intelligent creative force, within the continuity of primordial time, physical death is not an end, just as physical birth is not the beginning, rather both are part and parcel of the Great Continuity and integrity of All Our Relations.

Sex, Pro-Creativity, Co-generation, and Physical Death as a Conscious Path to Realizing the Light Body

The connections between death, birth, and rebirth are obvious. Obvious also is the connection between physical birth and the procreative force. This connection is also examined in the sutra on Brahmacharya; however, it is cogent to mention it here. Sexual, generative, regenerative, and procreative energy is indeed related to physical death. Knowledge of its workings can allow us to extend physical life, regenerate, heal, and in rare yogic cases connect with what is variously called the divine body, immortal embryo, light body, energy body, bliss body (sambhoga-kaya), or rainbow light body. It is called the bliss body because it is free from suffering -- free from the dualistic grab of samsaric dualistic existence. When the unconditioned natural state is no longer experienced as apart from one's momentary existence as an integrative wholeness, then unconditional happiness is continuous.

As natural and whole human beings living within the timeless and boundless great continuum, this integration of the very powerful procreative/creative, regenerative/generative life force is natural and spontaneous. Although some will negate, deny, avoid, or repress the innocent nature of the sexual force, it is done so out of egoic fear. It is seen as an inability to control it. The majority disciplines that do approach sexual behavior tend to see it as a powerful force to control and manipulate forcibly. Many schools of yoga teach such manipulative disciplines based on the prana (life force), the nadis (channels), and bio-psychic transformative substances utilizing asana, bandha, pranayama, pratyhara, mudra, dharana, and samyama. The general idea is to activate the energy body after the channels have been purified and opened. There are many yogic techniques that are devoted to this realization, but details are outside the scope of Pada II. Rather Pada III focuses upon samyama practices that open, activate, and integrate one's spiritual potential utilizing the energy body. Here one consciously integrates sun and moon (ha and tha), yang and yin, shiva and shakti, crown and root, sky and earth, right and left, pingala and ida, male and female -- all dualistic propensities.

There is another non-controlling and non-manipulative approach that accomplishes the same thing without risking repression. Natural yoga teaches the yogi to be an open vessel/channel, while allowing the channels to remain open and the energy flowing, filling, energizing, activating, empowering, and integrating through its own innate natural intelligence, albeit it may sometimes require some jump starting (such as devotion, concentration, yam/niyam, asana, bandha, mudra, pranayama, pratyhara, samyama, etc. In natural yoga, the main emphasis is to honor, respect, and be aware of the life energy (cit-shakti) innately flowing inside oneself and in all beings. This is more than memorizing the positions and names of the chakras or mechanically performing breathing and visualization exercises. Here one does not separate from nor attempt to ignore/deny the body, from the earth, creation, creative well springs, from the evolutionary creative life force, from procreation/regeneration. Rather this is an integrative path, where body, breath, mind, and timeless presence are harmoniously recognized as our natural condition. Many have heard about kundalini shakti residing in the muladhara; yet, few actually practice keeping the energy in the muladhara freely flowing, while integrating it with the crown chakra -- bathing in that conscious state continuously, let alone allowing it to express itself in our modern and mostly alienated fragmented "life" in a life/earth negative death culture.

Paradigm Death: A New Uncontrived Earth is Calling

Until the operations of the citta-vrtta cease, the egoic mindset identifies with thought forms (objects of thought), which are limited contextually. When an object of ego-fixation or dependence disappears, is doubted, questioned, demeaned, or annihilated`within the province of the egoic mindset, then the ego itself may feel threatened and confused, especially if one feels that one's world/reality is crumbling. Chaos is often the word one gives to this state of mental disorder, but it may also be labeled as complexity, disillusionment, or "the dark night of the soul". This parallels similar to the fear of physical death, where sense objects and the objectified world of phenomena disappear. But in this case we are addressing the death of`a world paradigm, belief system, or familiar frameworks of reference such as in change/transformation. This fear is not the situation for a yogi, who welcomes change and accepts the flow of ever-newness in an evolutionary context. Especially, in times of social upheaval, war, disaster, or extreme external strife, this expression is most valuable, just as it is at the time of physical death.

A yogi welcomes change without attachment. Such an attitude allows the yogin to continue to learn and evolve. As consciousness expands, the static state of constricted HeartMind consciousness is reversed. The fear of living and learning by the dying of the old, and being reborn, speaks to the reason why many people become stuck in narrow mental prisons, and why others continue to learn and grow. See the discussion above on the Fear of Change. A healthy body/mind continues to make changes. In improvisational jazz it is called "making the changes" (an essential).

Everything that we need to know in order to think clearly and be emotionally healthy and happy is accessible if we know where to look for it. Cit is not separate from Sat, Shiva from Shakti, nirvana from Samsara; rather these are states of mind. Just so, the New Earth, as a sacred life of ever presence, has always been a possibility, but only our vision has lagged behind. The wellsprings of our inspiration is awaiting its own fulfillment in its creative expression. It is up to us to allow for it, and bring it forward -- and birth it.

Integration with the Great Continuity: Bardo States as Transition Stages

Physical death often remains as a very large mystery, a source of fear, and thus, a needless consternation and pain results. Because of the associated pain (mental pain to the egoic attachment), it is widely ignored and avoided, rather than more closely questioned and faced.

Hence, a preliminary inquiry may be in order. What is death? Is it utter annihilation, or a natural change in state? Is it an escape from worldly pain? Who dies? Where does one go? What is reincarnation, and so forth? The answer lies in knowing one's true nature – waking up now. Strangely most people do not want to know. That inquiry is most left for "last", but strangely that cheats the present.

If human beings define themselves as living exclusively inside a box, a conceptual and hence fabricated "reality", then it is difficult if not impossible to conceive of living outside that box. That is how ignorance operates to obstruct knowing (Jnana). When we know our true nature – the true nature of the mind and phenomena, the true essence of nature, then that box no longer limits our knowledge of who we are, how we got here, how the universe got here, the true nature of the universe and the primordial undying nature behind it. In that context there are no fragmented transitions, in-between states (bardos), but rather evolutionary transitions occur within a Greater Holistic Continuity of Great Time and Great Space. Death is no longer a limitation or great transition.

The Great Continuity/Great Integrity is always NOW HERE, but is rarely recognized/acknowledged, integrated,  or known, by the ordinary mind.  In recognizing and honoring that NOW we are freed from fragmented consciousness and being. There is no "fragmented transition" or disruption when primordial wisdom is integrated now -- when we live with that in integrity now.

The "problem" arises when we identify and limit our self awareness to just this body without acknowledging or knowing its source, its history, its place in evolution, or beginningless causeless source. In tantra this integration is explained as the emanation/embodiment of the unity of the three kayas (the svabhavakaya as the integration of dharmakaya, rupakaya, and nirmanakaya).

Framing physical death as a transition stage assumes that we are framing (or rather boxing-in) a separate and independent "reality", which is dependent upon the body and the human sense organs out of context of evolution (before this life and after it). It depends on how completely fascinated we are in the existential present versus the moment as part of a ongoing evolutionary process stemming back from beginningless time. So when that limitation/ignorance dissolves so will the idea of "transition" into an unknown also dissolve. There will be a transition, but within the contextual continuity of a Great Continuity, Great (Primordial) Time frame, a continuing presence.

The best practice for the fear of death seems to be bringing primordial presence and time "in" HERE and NOW. That is, living fully and deeply in the eternal present Now. Dream yoga and bardo yoga are also a practical approach to learning about the bardos (between states) of unembodied consciousness, but really all these death practices such as dream yoga, bardo yoga, phowa, pure land, etc., are like insurance policies just in case we don't wake up this lifetime -- NOW. Shooting for wake up NOW and NOW and NOW...and ... focusing in on that avoids the diversion/distraction. That is the opposite of escape and fear -- being fully present NOW!

"In a cloudless night sky, the full moon,
"The Lord of Stars" is about to rise......
The face of my compassionate lord Padmasambhava
Draws me on, radiating its tender welcome.
My delight in death is far, far greater than
The delight of traders at making vast fortunes at sea.
Or the lords of the gods who vaunt their victory in battle;
Or of those sages who have entered the rapture of perfect absorption.
So, just as a traveler who sets out on the road when the time has come to go,
I will not remain in this world any longer,
But will go to dwell in the stronghold of the great bliss of deathlessness."

The Last Testament of Longchenpa

The Apocalypse: Doomsday

Doomsday is based on the false egoic assumption (asmita-klesha) that one's true identity is a separate ego, and thus that egoic entity may die. Alongside that false assumption is the observation/perception of separate phenomena that appear to truly exist as independent entities. These two assumptions are the basis of a fundamental egoic confusion (avidya and asmita).

Since phenomena are constantly changing and impermanent, including the physical body of the observer, any such egoic assumption will concomitantly produce fear of the future. When such fear that lurks in the background twilight consciousness reaches a crescendo it manifests in many aberrant ways. One such way, as has been shown, is the fear of death, and/or fear of loss. Similarly, strong fear can be very painful, hence, triggering a desire in the egoic mindset to end its torment and anguish. Because the ego is deluded, not recognizing that the pain is caused by one's own ignorance and false assumption within its shadow world, the ego continues to look outward into the world (phenomena) and sees doomsday (or apocalypse) as a salvation from its personal anguish. The ego may even consider that as god's peace, god's grace, or the ego's redemption. The greater one's delusion, the stronger the underlying anguish, and the more strong this aberrant solution may become appealing and take hold. Although it is true that the world as individualized phenomena is impermanent and is crumbling and arising anew at each moment, the doomsday scenario is built upon egoic fear and ignorance, not the realization of impermanence. Although in its most beneficial form, the concept or ideation of an apocalypse may at its best be a teaching on non-attachment as the abandonment of dualistic tendencies, its imputation is most often taken literally as a future physical cataclysmic event, not as an ever-present timeless process. In such a way, doomsday prophets must be considered as fear ridden and when adamant as paranoid, in that they possess an irrational fear and conviction of an approaching future doom.

Reincarnation or Rebirth

One may easily conclude that Sri Patanjali does not directly discuss rebirth or reincarnation anywhere in the Yoga Sutras; yet he does address themes of identity, continuity, isvara, purusa, and samadhi. It is perhaps in this very sutra about abhinivesa, that the question of reincarnation is best addressed.

Simply put,. in pure yoga, any identification with a separate self is asmita-klesha or avidya (ignorance). It is always a false identification based on delusion Therefore the question of reincarnation is solved in samadhi -- in waking up to true nature of self -- the absorption into one's true nature (swarupa-sunyam as in III.3). What reincarnates is always in reality that Divine Self, albeit most of the time hindered, obscured, and fettered by any remaining unfinished kleshas, karma, and accompanied with their samskaric residues, all of which has to be released sooner or later. the yogi realizing that klesha and karma obscure consciousness and produce suffering, the decision to release all fetters is NOW.

"When we pass from this life, we will not be able to bring with us even the slightest thing or person, no matter how much we want to. There is no other way than to leave this guest-house of the body. The only things that will follow us are the karmic traces stored within our mind-continuum. For this reason it is so important to recognize suffering and eliminate its causes before it is too late."
~ Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche

If all the kleshas, samskaras, and karma have become released then what reincarnates is the Primordially Pure Self, Selfless Compassion and Wisdom -- embodied love freed from ignorance. Such divine beings are most often seen as a threat and snared by those afflicted by jealousy, arrogance, pride, hatred, anger, desire, and fear (the kleshas). Such people and their institutions tend to degenerate, abase, seduce, and destroy such divine souls because their very existence reflects a threat to their ego. Just as truth threatens delusion and self deceit, so does transpersonal realities threaten the illusory nature of the ego. Divine beings are thus seen as honorific or terrifying beings to those attached to egoic mind associations. Survival as a self preservation technique is strong in those egoic beings who identify with being separate and apart from the intelligent evolutionary/creative force (shakti), but how else can they know the primordial mind, if not through shiva's container, mahashakti?

Part Eight, Chapter I — Brahman in the Heart (Chandogya Upanishad, trsl. Sw. Nikhilananda

“Om. There is in this city of Brahman an abode, the small lotus of the heart; within it is a small akasa. Now what exists within that small akasa, that is to be sought after, that is what one should desire to understand.

If they should say to him: "Now, with regard to the abode, the small lotus, in this city of Brahman and the small akasa within it—what is there in it that is to be sought after and what is there that one should desire to understand?" Then he (the teacher) should say: "As far as, verily, this great akasa extends, so far extends the akasa within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever belongs to him (i.e. the embodied creature) in this world and whatever does not, all that is contained within it (i.e. the akasa in the heart).

If they (the pupils) should say: "If everything that exists—all beings and all desires—is contained in this city of Brahman, then what is left of it when old age overcomes it or when it perishes?

Then he (the teacher) should say: "With the old age of the body, That (i.e. Brahman, described as the akasa in the heart) does not age; with the death of the body, That does not die. That Brahman and not the body is the real city of Brahman. In It all desires are contained. It is the Self—free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from grief free from hunger, free from thirst; Its desires come true, Its thoughts come true. Just as, here on earth, people follow as they are commanded by a leader and depend upon whatever objects they desire, be it a country or a piece of land so also those who are ignorant of the Self depend upon other objects and experience the result of their good and evil deeds.

And just as, here on earth, whatever is earned through work perishes, so does the next world, won by virtuous deeds, perish. Those who depart hence without having realized the Self and these true desires—for them there is no freedom in all the worlds. But those who depart hence after having realized the Self and these true desires—for them there is freedom in all the worlds.”

Divine and perfect love is a manifestation of perfect wisdom. It conquers fear, aversion, carnal/neurotic/compensatory lust, attachment, small minded self centeredness, dualistic thinking, and ignorance -- in short all the kleshas. For each klesha yoga offers a profound remediation teaching (pratiprasava)-- an antidote.


II. 10. te pratiprasava-heyah suksmah

Even the most subtle (suksmah) of these hindrances (kleshas) can be eliminated (heya) by redirecting (pratiprasava) them back (turning them back upon themselves) into their most subtle origin.

Commentary: Another popular translation is: These afflictions (kleshas) are made progressively subtle (sukshma). Eventually they are abandoned,remediated, and reversed (heya) through a de-evolution process (pratiprasava).

Here Patanjali presents the remedy of pratiprasava (redirection of the manifestation backwards toward the source) for the elimination of the above five major kleshas of avidya (ignorance), asmita (ego), aversion/repulsion (dvesa), raga (attraction or desire), and abhinivesah (fear of death), while the next sutra discloses the remedy of meditation. The source of the affliction is, as we have seen, non-recognition (avidya). Re-direction thus is reunion with one's original all encompassing ever-present awareness -- the unborn mind or true nature within all.

Pratiprasava (redirecting a phenomena back into its cause) is a very valuable technique to refine. In a very simple sense it is nothing other than re-membering in its literal sense. Here, we use the very momentum and kleshic force and turn it back upon itself in order to annul it. Pratiprasava is a valuable if not essential technique in successful meditation. See the last sutra in the very last chapter (Pada IV.34). There we trace everything back to beginningless Source as a divine pulsation (spanda) from creator to creation and back again. Nature holds the source, as this is the source of all. The unborn original primordial source permeates all of ongoing creation -- all forms/phenomena.

Before that recognition (of our true Self Nature as swarupa sunyam) is fully recognized, we can implement opposing remedies to counteract the kleshas and cancel them out. For example the Buddhist six paramitas, the yams (which creates an effective pratisthayam), the niyams, and all the other limbs of astanga yoga are so used in terms of remembering. One may ask where do the kleshas go? These clouds of unknowing become rarified and dissolve back to the source (pure awareness, clear light, cit). At first the redirection may be a recognition of the a generalized painful state, or recognition of an identifiable specific operation of a klesha, a dimming of the light, a generalized but identifiable feeling of confusion, a cramped limited feeling where both unhappiness and unawareness coincide. A specific cause may be identified for a specific condition, but ultimately we may become aware by recognizing the source of karma and suffering itself, the end of karma, causes and conditions, and there reside in the holographic unconditional state of true and lasting happiness. Here the absence of unawareness signals the absence of unhappiness. Put in a positive light clear light awareness brings forth lasting happiness free from causes and conditions. That is liberation from karma -- unconditional freedom (kaivalyam). Indeed karmic forces are created within all inclusive hologram. Realizing that while still in the body brings mukti and happiness. Such rainbow light beings are light bringers, heralding in a sacred earth free from sorrow, attachment, selfishness, fear, and greed. The earth becomes sacralized because there is no longer dualistic separation between cit and sat, cit-shakti, heaven and earth, nirvana and samsara, crown and root, siva/shakti, at least for the yogi adept.


In sitting meditation discursive thoughts often arise in- between the spaces of open stillness. When we pay attention we notice that these thoughts start from very subtle imprints (Samskaras) and then express themselves in words, sentences, thoughts, concepts, and ideas (vrtti). Sometimes these are kleshic or not. A preliminary goal then in silent sitting meditation is to establish subtle awareness, so when these thoughts start to arise, they are immediately let go (ungrasped). As this awareness is honed through experience, the awareness becomes more immediate. Before one's mind is carried away by thoughts of the past or future, dramas, ideas, kleshas, or other citta-vrtti (all caused by past impressions and karmic residue), the mechanism of their arising itself is self liberated no longer obstructing the innate wisdom/Buddhanature. In silent sitting emptiness meditation the awareness is of thoughts are brought all the way back to its origin, shining its self effulgent wisdom light upon it. Thus a skilled meditator needs nothing more than his or her mind to self-liberate.

So first we notice/recognize in subtle silent sitting meditation the most subtle and deepest recesses of the origins of the kleshas while rewiring their circuits through nothing more than shining the light of awareness upon it. As we come to know that its origin is really avidya (ignorance) which is the primary obstruction of the innate Buddha nature through purifying that vision (vidya). This clarity spills over into daily life imply so that if a samskara has been triggered activating a klesha, one is more likely to become aware of it and let it go. At the very least one can view it in pure vision (vidya) as being an obstruction of the purified mindfield and not act upon it. Eventually the force fields and habitual patterns of these kleshic/karmic patterns will weaken. The more they weaken the deeper the meditation. The deeper the meditation, the less kleshas in daily life. Hence a positive momentum of positive karma is established and with that a stabilization of pure vision (vidya) .

Simply put, we witness/observe "events" daily. If we are in a dualistic state of confusion, then the aforementioned kleshas may arise. Instead of acting on these or being over powered by them, the yogi shines light on it through awareness without judgment, bringing in and participating with the process of awakening and maturing the intrinsic seed of enlightenment, which manifests as skilful means. If that doesn't happen spontaneously or thoroughly, then we can apply pratiprasava to the klista-vrtti, in order to calm. pacify, or still the kleshic citta-vrtti by moving it back to the origin from which it sprung, reversing its direction and thus no longer feeding nor acting upon that recurring karmic pattern, hence the recurring pattern becomes disrupted and the tendency (vasana) is broken. Dhyana is thus the best practice to remediate even the most subtle klesha.

What is the origin of the kleshas other than the errant mind -- a false perception -- a blockage of pure vision.


II. 11. dhyana-heyas tad-vrttayah

Meditation (dhyana) is the efficacious practice that annihilates and silences (heyas) the fractures and hindrances of consciousness (which maintain the citta-vrtti).

Commentary: Meditation (dhyana) also remediates the effects of the kleshas which in turn uphold the vrtti (agitations and thought patternings that obscure the citta or consciousness). Similarly, the mental patternings that are caused by the domination of the kleshas are annihilated (heyas) through meditation (dhyana). Although pratiprasava as a technique attenuates them to a point of making them more subtle, dhyana is designed to effect asamprajnata (non-dual space) which eliminates them to a point beyond subtle, rather they are annulled, voided ... zilch.When the vrtti are eliminated (heyas), then citta shines forth unimpeded and yoga is accomplished (in samadhi). See Sutra III.2 for more about dhyana (meditation) which leads to samadhi.

We learned in I.5 that the citta-vrtti produce kleshas. We also learn that acting on kleshas produce negative karma and suffering. Hence the trap of cyclic existence is created out of ignorance (avidya). Now we have learned that dhyana is the best remedy. That is what dhyana is meant to do, to help us identify the kleshas and citta-vrtti as they arise and hence to allow us to release them. Sitting silent meditation is the most powerful way of doing so. After sitting silent meditation, its effects bleed over into everyday life where we have more clarity of mind. The more clarity of mind we have during the day, then we can start our next session of meditation at a more clear beginning point. Then the next day even more clarity and more effective meditation so that it becomes a mutually synergistic practice.

Practice:Dhyana (Meditation). Set aside time each day to meditate. Let go of your discursive thought patterns (citta-vrtti) and open up to the vast love and wisdom that is always available. That will help drop old patterns and open yourself to transpersonal non-dual but dormant creative potential so that it will be naturally expressed. Also see the practice in sutra 11 above.

The following sutras are primarily meant to be applied to the practice of dhyana. They are not mere abstract philosophical speculations

II. 12. klesa-mulah karma-asayo drstadrsta-janma-vedaniyah

The root (mula) cause of the kleshas are the effects that are seated (asaya) in past actions (karma) through the laws of cause and effect, be their causes fully known (drsta) or not (drsta-adrsta). This explains what arises and is experienced (vedaniyah) in life (janma) and how kleshas arise.

Commentary: This is a two way street. It is just as true that past negative karma causes obscurations, citta-vrtti, and afflictive behavior; just so do actions, thoughts, and speech based on confusion and kleshas cause additional negative karma. Indeed this is a decent description of the wheel of samsaric existence (the wheel of suffering). Hence the suffering bound by cyclic existence is difficult to break. Acting out of confusion and ignorance is the chief cause of new negative karma, and negative karma is the cause of future kleshas. That is the samsaric wheel that is difficult to break, but which in the following sutras Patanjali suggests practices which breaks this cycle allowing the yogi to self liberate, to become free of kleshas. Not all karma is negative. There also exists good karma, merit (punya), karma yoga (selfless activities), and positive actions which produce future positive results.

Janma means life. Karmasayah means the resting place of karma. Drsta-adrsta means known or unknown. In this way the accumulation of negative karma which resides in the subconscious (and as an analog, the cellular memory, neurology) and energy body are both produced and supported by the kleshas, while further actions based on the kleshas in turn give birth to future negative karma which in turn will feed the kleshas (the pain body). The pain body is simply the karmic body; i.e., the complexes that surround our attachment to samsaric (cyclic) existence, hence pain. The ordinary person is imprisoned by this vicious cycle, while the sadhak (spiritual aspirant) has taken up functional practice (sadhana) as its remediation to break the chain of samsaric existence. The results of karma mixed with klesha can reincarnate in this same lifetime or in the future. Likewise merit from good karma can result in this lifetime or in the future after the physical body departs.

Another way to translate this is that the kleshas are a root cause for the continuation of negative karma. Negative karma causes further kleshas, and the kleshas cause further negative karma. Such forms the basis of the suffering inherent in this cyclic existence (the wheel of samsara). thus authentic yoga teachings attenuates the kleshas and eliminates our imprisonment to karma. Positive karma (actions) produces happiness. One gift of wisdom is knowing the difference.

Through good karma (variously called merit (punya), skillful means, wise and compassionate activities) the karmic cycles of past programs can be dismantled. balanced out, and come to an end. Necessarily here the kleshas end as well because there is no cause for them to arise. What arises is thus the pure innate natural expression of universal love. Patanjali says that we may not know nor do we have to know the causes or whether they are presently manifesting or latent and imprinted upon the subconscious (drsta-adrsta).

We learned that the chief klesha is avidya (ignorance) but not how avidya is itself perpetuated. Now we learn that it is karma (actions) which give rise to kleshic experiences. Also in I.5 we have been given the clue how the citta-vrtti also arise from kleshas and how they produce kleshas. Hence now we now have some effective tools to work with, i.e., our mindfield (citta0vrtti), our actions (karma), kriya yoga (II.2) and meditation (I.11). Indeed practice defeats the kleshas and hence the cycle of karma. Practice can also break up old karmic patterns. Not only dhyana (meditation), but also yam, niyam, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana destroys kleshas but they also can break up pre-existing karmic patterns.

So when we are meditating for example when a klesha first comes up we can notice it (viveka) such as; "Oh anger, or jealousy, or desire for a soda pop, oh lust, oh envy, oh mental discomfort. or .…" But we don’t have to act nor react to the klesha. What’s next we can ask “show it to me” without fear or expectation. Guess what, they go away then. That is how the monkey mind plays hide and go seek. Not acting on the kleshas, the karmic propensities are de-energized and then we rest deeper and more energized in a peaceful and clear state. Then off the meditation mat we are more clear minded and peaceful and more quickly recognize if/when a klesha is arising and be willing to let it go -- noticing it and then implementing vairagya --letting it pass without reacting. This breaks up the habit/cycle. Eventually with practice, such arising become pacified and ceases by itself. What is left is both conscious and joyful in nature. 

When the karma is eliminated then there arises an unconditioned (natural) state or unconditional liberation and happiness (not dependent upon causes or past karma). This produces a natural joy free from dvesa or sorrow. This is tha asamprajnata awareness devoid of separate self which knows infinite timeless awareness (isvara) here and now. HERE we know infinite self luminous compassion as the spontaneous manifestation of a boundless HeartMind.

Thus we should not confuse physical pain or normal pleasure (as the reward for desire or rather its satisfaction). Such is merely a compensatory neuroses for displaced union (samadhi) with the natural self (swarupa). Patanjali is addressing spiritual suffering not neurotic craving. As Yogeshwar Muni says: Pleasure is the reward and pain is the payment [for ordinary neurotic craving]. Ordinary pleasure and pain are two sides of one coin (a samsaric wheel). Some one craves something and then is rewarded by its union. Then they carve again when the bhoga of that temporary fix wanes. That is part of the vicious cycle of samsara which is nothing else but being trapped inside of karmic cyclic existence. . More craving (pain), then the more pleasure that is sought. Removing the kleshas springing from ignorance, then spiritual suffering is eliminated. Then is lasting happiness possible outside the cycle of craving, desire, fear, aversion, ego (asmita), pride, greed, jealousy, and death). All the kleshas when understood come from the same dualistic source, the estrangement/fragmentation from Self (the Great Integrity).

We saw in Pada I how vrtti is associated with klesha and how additional klesha comes from vrtti. Now Patanjali is telling us about the relationship between karma and klesha -- how vrtti will no longer continue to affect, pre-dominate, pre-determine, re-afflict, obstruct, and cause further negative effects which limit and condition our experience in the present and future (which are operational even now) until we remediate the basis (mula) of klesa and karma. This is accomplished through meditation. In other words, vrtti (fluctuations of citta) will continue to manifest in meditation until they are annihilated through uprooting the causes of the kleshas. Thus in meditation we become more aware, identify, and re-cognize (viveka) the kleshas as they arise, and then shine the self luminous light of awakening upon them. This by itself has the power to propel us into samadhi of Now awareness as we then have the opportunity to let them go, cultivating space in turn to summon in the natural unconditioned state (svarupa). This is how the kleshas are remediated (pratiprasava) in dhyana. See II.10 and IV.34). Failing that, we proceed with the following.


II. 13. sati mule tad-vipako jati-ayur-bhogah,

As long as this basis [storehouse of karma and kleshas are not remediated], their results (vipakah) will continue to exist (sati) giving birth or ripening (vipakah) into further varieties of experiences (bhoga) throughout one's life starting at birth (jati) and affecting one's individual experiences (bhoga) of vitality and health throughout one's life span (jati-ayur-bhoga).

mule: root, foundation, base, basis

vipaka: ripened fruit; maturity; results.

sati: existence; inability to change, the first wife of shiva

jati: birth

bhoga: experiences

ayur: health or life

jati-ayur-bhoga: life span: This life's experiences

Without eliminating the basic causes for the occurrences and ripening of past karma due to kleshas, then further undesirable results will continue to appear to arise (vipakah) influencing characteristics from birth (jati), our vital life force and health (ayur), and experiences so that we continue to chase new experiences as pleasures (bhoga), avoid what is not pleasurable, and hence the average man lives out their lives accumulating more negative karma and hence future unfavorable conditions and hindrances. In fact these conditions bear testimony and witness of the process of ripening karma. All physical bodies bear this witness as well as the earth, the entire cosmos, and the relative world itself.

The earth (as shakti/sati) acts as a mirror reflection of isvara/shiva and bears witness in mirror-like wisdom just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. In a nutshell this is the story of Buddha's enlightenment under the pipal tree when he defeated mara (delusion) for the last time because he called the earth as his unfailing witness (defeating deluded thought).

The mirror when it becomes dirty, needs to be cleaned by practice (meditation) or it will distort or color our experiences causing errors. Just so, without cleansing the mirror, past experiences can build up as a set pattern/coating on the mirror forming a storehouse of past reactive patterns which can be repeated in the future often unconsciously and compulsively. These reactive patterns can also cause health problems and weakening of the life force. These obstructive patterns however can change. So stating this in a positive way, at the root of experiencing the fruits of long life, vitality, and health, a wise person might recognize positive causes which gave rise to positive conditions and results, while negative karmic causes negative conditions and results are recognized as the fruits of kleshas. Some karma (actions) are good and some not, depending on the wisdom and intent involved. This practice also provides a method for body/mind psychic and spiritual healing by taking back control of one's own life energy (prana) and mental patterns.

Practice: One simply but profoundly observes the time between the arising of a reactive thought pattern which precedes immediately before the acting/reacting of the body/mind occurs. In the beginning of this self training, one observes the entire event. Then one can trace these fruits (vipako) of the kleshas as they arise, back to their origin (jati) in terms of their root cause (mule) which is revealed (viveka) through the application of gentle (not forceful) conscious attention. The purification of the root cause of these manifestations of the kleshas, will thus result in also eradicating its associated karma. This in turn liberates prana which is involved in the old reactive pattern. The prana is then naturally redirected for evolution, healing, and creative expression. This again is best accomplished through sitting and observing "mind" in dhyana (meditation). After this non-reactive awareness pattern has displaced the old compulsive pattern, then it becomes easy to integrate in everyday life because the karmic storehouse has been cleansed of negative body/mind patterns. Eventually when the primary root cause (avidya) is separated out from the karmic storehouse, a vast liberation occurs.

Normally yogis are taught to recognize and then remediate the kleshas, therefore positive causes and conditions can occur. Although we can create positive future effects and conditions through wise action and practices NOW, there exists a more esoteric relationship where past karma can be remediated as in the example that within the seed there is the tree, while the tree by standing in relationship to the seed, thus affects it.

Mothers and fathers begin programming children from the womb, if not before. The children are terribly vulnerable and open, hence, easily impressed at infancy. Depending on the parents' own past imprints, unconscious compulsive patterns, kleshas (ignorance, fears, hatreds, karmic patterns, and neuroses, such in turn, are often impressed and absorbed directly (via right brain receptive mechanisms) into the child's mindstream. Being reinforced, this early conditioning is often very strong, albeit mostly unconscious, and forms the hardest shell to crack by psychologists who might be summoned in adult life for help. Very often fear, confusion, terror, and intense pain associated with these early life events and traumas; hence, often a protective numbing/insulating fear based mechanism of the pain body must be pierced or rather dissolved, abandoned, or ungrasped. Most definitely positive or negative identifications and preferences (associations with pleasure and the avoidance of non-pleasurable experiences) are formed in early life, which too often effect and haunt the person throughout the rest of their life unless these negative associations (be it anticipation, anxiety, aversion, compensatory pride, or false identifications) are removed. These protective patterns, can be recognized as dysfunctional burdens, impediments/afflictions (kleshas) must be confronted, penetrated fully, and broken. Thus through effective yogic practices such false associations are abandoned, ungrasped, let go, and dissolved.

Children are very sensitive, intelligent, and receptive; albeit not worldly sophisticated. Their life is still mainly undifferentiated. They are in a natural learning (open) mode of investigation/exploration of the differentiated world of human embodiment possessing a natural curiosity, wonder, and desire to integrate. Being mainly wide open vehicles for impressions, they learn coping programs even in the womb and throughout infancy forming habitual learned patterns of thought and activities, often fixated by negative beliefs. Although children arrive into human life with past karma and genetic programming (good or bad), they also come in with the primal intrinsic imprint of isvara -- the innate all-good bodhicitta (desire for awakening). Most moms and dads recognize that to some extent, but if it is repressed and ignored in most adults because of negative beliefs. In this situation having children can be an opportunity for parents to reconnect with that unconditioned wonder, or on the other hand if such remains repressed and unexpressed, it can be an avenue for transgenerational violence and affliction to be passed down.

Psychotherapists today are now recognizing both prenatal and peri-natal traumas. Here is a link to the Assn. for Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology and Health is housed. Also the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute teaches similar prenatal and peri-natal trauma remediation work. Stan Grof of who developed Holotropic Breathwork also focuses on that reconnecting process as well. It’s fascinating but new in the West, but still big in the East. So too are the yams, niyams, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana capable of breaking up old karmic patterns and tendencies, purifying the mind stream and thus allow for infinite Source to shine through the obscurations.

Yoga of course recognizes that both siddhis (abilities) and/or negative samskaras (conditioning) from past births can and do have an influence. Yoga is designed to recognize these programs such as karma), samskaras (imprints/psychic seals), vasanas (habitual tendencies), and kleshas (mental/emotional obfuscations and hindrances) and then eventually eliminate/cathart them -- be liberated from them should the yogi desire. However such requires dedication and awareness.-- a desire to be aware and present. Old habits based on obtaining pleasure and avoiding pain, form habitual prisons or rather trances which are difficult to break, but our liberation depends on their remediation. This is well recognized by yogis and psychologists (although most psychologists will not recognize the presence of past life samskaras and karmic influences). So what my teachers taught me and what I teach, is to get rid of all the karma and all the afflictions so that one resides in the natural unconditioned state (swarupa) regardless where the false identifications and limited mindsets are coming from. "Where", "why", and "how" depend on the engagement of the analytical discursive mind. Just watch it in pure awareness and that clear Light luminosity will destroy the vrtti.

Children learn how to play roles, games, and even conform to those roles (identities) that are expected of them, which they are rewarded to play, are encouraged, where their sense of existence and security are acknowledged, or their sense of insecurity is diminished. . They learn (are conditioned) to chose various roles to play out of fear and need -- out of ignorance of who they truly are. The tragedy is of course that is who they learn to be – what they believe is their “reality” and within that contrived “reality” the reality of who they think they are as they define “self” in terms of “other” is taken into adult life governing their destiny and coloring/covering the expression of their creative evolutionary potential. authentic yoga goes beyond fabrication and game playing. That is why it appears so threatening to socio-economic exploiters, manipulators, would be slave masters, and false gurus.

That is not the aim of authentic yoga of course. Although demagogues and tricksters will continue to attempt to manipulate these reactive patterns, such manipulation is impossible when these fixations and habits have been surrendered in authentic yogic practices such as dhyana or authentic hatha yoga. It is unimaginable sitting in meditation with all that garbage going through the mindstream (citta) for any period of time or surrendering deeply into an open posture without emptying out the junk completely. The more common problem is that most people forgot in the first place that they are even playing an acquired role or that they have fallen inside of some one else’s transgenerational dream, projection, or trap which has negatively programmed and conditioned their citta-vrtti and karma. A strengthened focus and onepointed devotion on liberation (mukti) -- waking up, destroys such negative tendencies and as such, skillful practice (sadhana), bears its positive fruit (vipaka).

So in meditation (dhyana) if we are not able to liberate the klishta citta vrtti and karma, then such will arise again and again in our experiences, both in meditation and daily life, capable of even causing great discomfort, illness and premature death until final liberation. We have the opportunity NOW to wake up; recognizing the burdensome operations the kleshas, which are the results of past karma, we can let go of such fixated limitations. Through skillful meditation practice, great wisdom dawns. Postponing or ignoring such (even by the "learned") leads to negative results.

II. 14. te hlada-paritapa-phalah punyapunya-hetutvat

Those (te) fruits (phalah) [as a result of the winds of kleshas, citta-vrtti, and karma], may appear joyful (hlada) or painful (paritapa) depending upon their causative factors (hetutvat), whether due to meritorious actions (punya) or non-virtuous actions (apunya) respectively.

Commentary: Positive or meritorious thoughts and actions produce positive results (karma) or joy, while negative or non-virtuous thoughts and actions produce negative results (karma) and pain. Pleasure or pain depends on causative factors. We become victims upon the winds of karma which condition the degree, type, and length of the recurring vrttis which in turn further potentiate undesirable karma and hence the vicious cycle of samsaric existence keeps on spinning. So the wise, watch their thoughts, speech, and actions in order to effect lasting happiness, but they do not repress them.

Since kleshas cause karma and karma, in turn cause kleshas, this is a two way street. When we are motivated by the kleshas (such as asmita, raga, dvesa, etc.) we are trapped within the wheel of samsaric existence whether or not the attraction or repulsion appears pleasurable/desirous or potentially painful. Those fruits/results (happiness or suffering) are at best temporary. They are the result of ignorance. Liberation and true happiness in a yogic sense brings forth unconditional liberation and lasting unconditional happiness, acknowledging that happiness and suffering are states of mind.

influence In Sutra I.5 we learned that the fluctuating mental patterning of the mind (citta-vrtti) may cause future suffering or be neutral in that regard. Similarly the citta-vrtti can also be caused by the kleshas. As we learned here in chapter II, the kleshas cause suffering; the chief klesha being avidya (ignorance). In this sutra Patanjali refines I.5 further by discerning that some actions may create temporary results that appear as temporary pleasure, some may create further pain, and most important that virtuous actions in body, speech, and mind may have positive effects.

Many times we may experience ananda-asmita (or joy) or aversion and pain (dvesa-asmita) as aspects of asmita-avidya where the ego either joins neurotically with an object of thought or is disinclined (averse) toward it. This occurs in daily life very often, but in silent sitting meditation it is much more easier to spot. Both raga (attraction) and aversion (dvesa) are due to attachment to citta-vrttis -- to the inferior vairagya (apara-vairaga) rooted in dualism (the samprajnata state defined in Sutra I.17). The mind goes into misery or aversion at one time, and then into joy or ananda another time. Such are the vacillations of the ordinary mind driven by karma and ignorance. But when that kind of pleasure and pain due to karma and kleshas (raga, dvesa, asmita, avidya, etc) are observed and no longer acted upon by body, speech, or mind, then virtuous actions leading to the cessation of ignorance, suffering (duhkha), and karmic compulsions can manifest. That kind of asmita-raga and dvesa are low vibratory states of consciousness dense with karmic propensities. They are due to past karma and avidya which are purified via virtuous actions -- actions governed by the wisdom- mind. The good news is that as these negative propensities arise, they can be recognized for what they are and released. Their causes once known, they are released/let go of directly proportional to our awareness/wisdom. As we form new virtuous habits we learn how to rest in our natural unconditioned true nature (svarupa) more consistently in dhyana and this bleeds over into everyday life increasingly. This is joyous mind training without effort capable of helping sincere practitioners turn the corner on old ways of suffering and dysfunction.

Sacred Earth

In the next sutra (15), Patanjali addresses the practice which frees us from karma, kleshas, and unhappiness. It is viveka, which is applied awareness. At first it reveals a little here and there. Specific causes of our variegated conditions may be recognized and released. Release can last for short or long periods and happiness (a state free from duhkha) can arise, but because all past causes (karma) have not yet been released back to their sources and insufficient new good tendencies (through good karma or punya) have not yet kicked in, unhappiness and unawareness returns until final release. Wisdom and positive actions are thus taught to be cultivated. Some schools recommend them as being cultivated separately, but in one sense both can be cultivated simultaneously as wisdom and compassion (skilful means). In short it is wise to act compassionately, while compassion accompanies and inspires wise activity. They are inseparable.

Duhkha is the lack of happiness. The end of dukha is true and lasting unconditional natural happiness, which is our unconditioned state. Unhappiness and unawareness go together as awareness and unconditional awareness go together. As viveka naturally becomes more subtle and alive progressing from a differentiated consciousness, to awareness of the undifferentiated primordial all-mind embedded in all creative activities, the self effulgent causeless uncaused primordial cause is known beyond a doubt. That is the end of personal karma and unhappiness for the yogin. That happiness signals in the end of karma, while creation and the earth are known as ever-newness in sacred presence, united as in cit-shakti or shiva/shakti, nirvana and samsara, crown and root in rainbowed hues.

II. 15. parinama-tapa-samskara-duhkhair guna-vrtti-virodha ca duhkham eva sarvam vivekinah

Recognizing the pre-existing insidious unhappiness, which is inherent in the habitual fascination processes upon appearances of discrete phenomena, the suffering of change is then identified, its cause recognized, and thus release from the processes of pain is realized.

Viveka is to be applied continuously to all apparent things on fire (things that are undergoing constant change) as the skillful means that reveals the inherent unsatisfactoriness and dysfunctional relationship between the painful attachments to disparate phenomena which are ever changing and the mental suffering, which is inherent in the mental patterning and conditioning associated with its attachment.

or similarly,

Viveka is the skillful means to be applied to all at all times (sarvam) in order to recognize the insidious latent suffering bound by the mental vagaries (vrtti) of fragmentary existence (the false identification with the dualistic world of apparently fragmentary objects and things) which are inherently in constant motion -- in transformation.

or similarly,

Similarly (eva) by knowing the whole -- the all knowing (eva sarvam vivekinah), the`practitioner is no longer limited or imprisoned by conditioning. One is not satisfied (duhkham) with holding on to an ever changing, temporal, and apparently paradoxical indistinct perceptions of phenomena (guna-vrtti virodha) which is likened to be on fire (tapa); rather that ever changing (parinama) bias (vrtti), which is fixated upon is recognized as not as impermanent, temporal, and continuously on fire (tapa). That error of perception (guna-vrtti-virodha) thus (eva) is recognized as the grasping cause of needless mental suffering (duhkhair) [due to mental clinging], and (ca), thus reinforcing the fixation and hold of further negative conditioning with latent negative psychic imprints (samskara),

parinama: change, transformation.

tapa: burns, burning, burn, often in intense pain

samskara: Conditioning, mental formations. Both mental formations and hence the way we view external formations and conditions. Composite, compounded, constructed, contrived, or fabricated "things" which bias our perception of "reality". Embedded psychic imprints left over from past unresolved painful experiences/conditions. Showing up on the body as cellular imprints, neuro-physiological habits, rigidity, posture, energy cysts, tension, and/or disease.

duhkhair: by dissatisfactions; relating to pain, stress, oppression

duhkha: Scarcity consciousness. A feeling of need or distress consciously acknowledged or not. A feeling of unhappiness, suffering, mental pain, dissatisfaction, misfortune, oppression, or grief. Duhkha is best defined as the lack or absence of joy, happiness, fulfillment, wholeness, or completion, thus the absence of joy (sukha) which may be variously characterized by pain, anguish, suffering, unhappiness, discomfort, discontent, angst, unease, stress, tension, pressure, dissatisfaction, grief, distress, chagrin, fretful, irritated, being inflamed, bruised, hurt, ruffled, irritated, dis-eased, off center, upset, shocked, or any chronic complaint, etc. Thus duhkha is the experiential or affective feeling state of incompleteness where pure consciousness (cit) is separated from a sense of completeness in one's subjective experience or state of being (sat).

vrtti: wavering, recurring patterns, biased spinning; fluctuations of consciousness.

guna: the way nature breaks down into its various manifold characteristic parts; Here, meant to describe fragmentary phenomena and its impermanence/transitory nature.

guna-vrtti: changing patterns of the qualities of nature; the wavering and bias caused by the evolutes of nature (the gunas).

virodha: turmoil, adversity, conflict, strife, paradoxical or oppositional.

eva: Also, since, indeed

ca: and

sarvam: all things: everything.

viveka: Primarily the awareness of relationships for example it is viveka which makes the distinction between kleshic (afflicted) awareness and prajna (innate wisdom). In that case viveka operates by first recognizing a dysfunctional mechanism of unhappiness inherent in a reflexive and compulsive conditioned way of existence. Then instead of identifying with the conditioned patterns, one starts to identify with the observer, the knower, or witness consciousness, thus bringing conscious awareness into the situation. Then one eventually begins to observe the nature of this awareness -- observes the eternal observer and becomes more acquainted with it's omnipresence through practice (usually dhyana). Eventually one may identify with this witness consciousness as the self (purusa). But that is not the end of viveka. In the final stages of viveka the observer recognizes itself in all sentient beings and things as the One in the many and the many in the One. It is neither only extrinsic nor exclusively intrinsic, but both/and -- the marriage of Sat and Cit -- being/nature and consciousness/spirit . Thus viveka is differentiated awareness where all beings and things are recognized as mutual interdependent components within an integral context of a greater whole (not separate) brought forward by action of an expanded boundless awareness. Even that is not enough. That differentiated awareness discloses the beginningless uncreated source in all and hence differentiated awareness remains inseparably married to undifferentiated formless awareness in authentic yogic experience. This is not an intellectual or conceptual realization, but rather a direct experience, realized through authentic yogic practice. This is not to say that differentiated awareness is the same as undifferentiated awareness or that relative reality/truth is the same as absolute reality/truth. It is not. What is integrated is their union/marriage in Sat-Cit-Ananda or Siva/shakti. THAT is the "and" in the "both/and". Realized as such, it is the portal of transformation itself -- the miracle of Cit and Sat.

As avidya (lack of vision) binds us to the samsaric and karmic wheels causing repeats of unsatisfactory experiences (duhkha), it is non-dual awareness that frees us from the gravitational pull of karma, duhkha, and samsara. That awareness is fructified by authentic yogic practice.

Viveka deepens as we practice... it is the ability to differentiate, discern, and discriminate, but how? Not between one disparate and isolate "thing" and another disparate isolated thing, but rather differentiated awareness involves the relationship of the one to the many or all. Otherwise the awareness remains limited, tilted, and biased (a vrtti). As such viveka is a sharpened aspect of differentiated awareness, which always must be seen as distinguishably indivisible with the integrative wholistic awareness (prajna or undifferentiated, all encompassing boundless, formless, and unborn primordial awareness. They go together inseparably – as aspects of the non-dual hologram.

Viveka is a differentiating awareness that discerns, recognizes, or acknowledges that integral hologram wherein the one is disclosed in all things, and all things are revealed in context with the one. Viveka is always available when we focus our attention on one thing in relationship to another and the whole. Thus self liberating and self luminous discriminating wisdom can be consulted and invoked increasingly. The union of cit (consciousness) with differentiated reality and being (sat) in Sat-Cit-Ananda is also the beginning, The liberated yogi must enter the holographic mandala and perform active service/worship. That is sacred work.

Commentary: Suffering is a state of the fragmentary mental condition. That samskaric mind state (called samsara) creates feelings of craving (raga) and antipathy (dvesa) as we have seen. So in order to fully understand what is meant by duhkha, we have to experience wholeness, fulfillment, and lasting happiness. That result is the effect of effective yogic practice.

The karmic causes of raga (attraction/attachment), dvesa (aversion), asmita, avidya, etc., must be removed in order for lasting happiness to manifest. The attraction/fascination (raga) to fragmentary existence (citta-vrtti) is exactly the dualistic/fragmented mind prison that is held together by the kleshas. It defines the state of duhkha (suffering) as depicted by the samsaric wheel beginning with ignorance and producing suffering). The difficulty is that one becomes attached/fixated to this static state and hence fears/resists change as change appears to be a threat to the egoic fixations. This samsaric state is called static in the sense that it is bounded by the prison of citta-vrtti or being based upon the ideation of a separate self (asmita) and hence avidya (lack of true vision). However within this prison of samsara there is constant change (parinama) fed by the twin engines of raga and dvesa. So the wheel of samsara spins driven by constant cycles of craving and antipathy until conscious recognition is applied to one's basic condition. Those caught into this snare are characterized as feeling incomplete, discontented, disturbed, or suffering (duhkha), while those who have realized the true nature of their mind are characterized by being wholesome, possessing integrity, wisdom, true knowledge or true happiness. They are the liberated beings (vita-raga or jivamukti).

Mental pain is a very deep subject capable of providing liberation in itself when properly understood. The yogi not only learns about pain, but the cause of pain, the working of one's own mind, how pain is produced by ignorance, and eventually abandoning these causes. This eventually penetrates deep down to the most subtle layer of awareness and sensitivity where the yogi no longer is oppressed by ignorance, but rather liberated in Sat Cit Ananda. The goal is not happiness or joy, but rather they are the affect of total unconditional liberation, which is the goal of yoga.

So the good news is that this painful and imprisoned state of mind, is just that; i.e., a state of mind which when recognized (not ignored) will provide the basis of one's self liberation. Although entirely real as any other fragmented state of mind that is broken off from the multiverse is real, this state never-the-less can be altered and transformed consciously, once it is recognized so that the vagaries of consciousness no longer identifies with the citta-vrtti, but rather aligns seamlessly with the evolutionary power/Reality (divine, transpersonal, transcognitive, and non-dual will-power).

The all knowing (eva-sarvam-viveka) through awakened awareness bears witness to these seemingly endless transformations (parinama) and changes from one mental stage to another (vrtti) as past habits, frozen fixations, conditioning, and imprints (samskaras) and similarly solidified false identifications with fragmented reality (duhkhair guna-vrtti-virodha) as being needlessly stressful and painful (tapa). To them this wheel of change (parinamas) fueled by past karma and kleshas is known as none other than the vicious wheel of cyclic existence (samsara)]. When stratified phenomena (the gunas) are so misperceived through avidya (ignorance) one suffers bondage and suffering.

However the wise discern the cause of this suffering not by further ignoring/avoiding it, but through recognizing ignorance as the very activity which is the cause of dualistic dissociation. Stress, tension, and suffering is inherent in glomming onto that which by nature is in constant flux no longer is capable of creating considerable tension and stress (virodha). Thus it is cut asunder through the sword of self luminous differentiated awareness (viveka) which is rooted in wholeness and integration -- in its marriage with the root mother of creation or true vision should the sadhak take on the courage to view reality as-it-is in naked awareness. Unhappiness is utterly destroyed when we align ourselves with the evolutionary power of the universe. That way we are connected continuously to our roots. Everything else is both pretentious and false -- subject to change and contrived by the individual's conceptual mind.

Yoga provides the necessary selfless (non-egoic) non-dual centering and grounding for human beings to face their demons, accept the truth no matter how threatening to the ego, instead of fight or flight syndromes of escape, anger, denial, or numbness in which "bad news" often provokes in the neurotic.

All mental dualistic attachments and associations with apparently separate objects of phenomena (guna-vrtti-virodha) are revealed as needless suffering (duhkha), It is merely due to mental mismanagement/classification of phenomena as if they were independent and unrelated. Thus such mental associations can be gratefully abandoned through the inherent power of NOW awareness (through viveka which knows the all as one, and the one as the many simultaneously as it is devoid of bias). Through applying viveka constantly, then ignorance (avidya) and hence the kleshas and attachment are defeated. By applying consciousness into the apparent pain, no pain is found separate from the mind, rather the painful mechanism is defused by delving all the way into all things via naked awareness. The lingering pain (parinama-tapa) associated with the pain of past conditioning and old experiences (samskara) are now redirected towards THAT awareness that knows no suffering and which is free from karma and conditions. Thus reality is known in light, not darkness, is it illumined, natural, and ever-present should it be recognized,

Often suffering is mistaken for happiness because of ignorance. For example, one may become very happy after purchasing a new toy, but after opening it up and playing with it become entirely disillusioned with it. Happy expectations can take human beings out of their grounded center in the present and create habitual syndromes of repeated disappointment. Happiness is not fear driven; heroin or alcohol are pain relievers, not true joy or happiness; "happiness is not found in the refrigerator". If we do not recognize suffering as suffering, but rather mistake it as happiness in security or predictability, then that is a major pitfall -- do not be fooled. Put another way, it is the ego sense (asmita) which drive the kleshas, tends to create defenses and armor around its delusions and pretenses protecting itself from unflattering or information due to pride or information which otherwise does not support it, but is perceived as threatening to that delusion. In that sense avidya and suffering is needlessly perpetuated until the observer is able to recognize the truth of samsaric existence -- the mental prison where no lasting happiness can be found. Lasting happiness and unconditional liberation is found when the samsaric wheel is broken -- when attachment and antipathy are conquered -- when true vision reigns and the citta-vrtta are thus liberated..

This is the sutra on the suffering of suffering, the suffering of existence, the suffering of impermanence, the origin of suffering, the all pervasive suffering of conditioning, and its remediation through recognizing it (viveka). Once it is revealed as it is, then its cause (avidya) can be identified and abandoned. As such it is the sutra on how insensitivity and ignorance is provoked, and how it is remediated. The greater the mental trauma or stress, the greater the need to dissociate, ignore, and escape, such in classic traumatic stress syndromes, where mental association with past painful mental events will serve to trigger a defensive/aggressive neurotic reaction aimed at the protection of the ego's protective mechanisms. Those dominated by the egoic mindset, cannot accept reality, because it appears too painful to their egoic mechanisms of self deceit (delusion). The ego demands to hear that which is supportive of it, which translates as preferable delusions. This happens until the eve of ego death, which is awakening, liberation, and enlightenment. This sutra thus is about how ignorance (the cause of suffering) is remediated through effective yoga practices as taught in the succeeding sutras. This sutra is also the first introduction of the term, viveka (clear recognition or lucidity). Viveka as we will see is the key tool of astanga yoga. It is to be applied in All Our Relations.

As we have learned, both raga (with its accompanying sukha/pleasure) as well as dvesa with its accompanying duhkha/pain) are both closely related mental afflictions. Eventually we have to give up all attachment to objects and this can only be accomplished by giving up attachment to the grasper (separate self) which seemingly observes "phenomenal objects (the gunas), Any such attraction or repulsion to an object by an observer is in reality a distraction of ego ignorance. It is bound to be unsatisfactory in the long run unless there is absolutely no attachment at all, then there is immersion, fascination, nor full engagement in such activities. Such activities undertaken with self awareness (viveka) are undergone with vairagya (non-attachment). Then there is neither clinging nor suffering involved. Once the yogi has awakened to an extent, only then can they help others liberate from the prison of suffering and ignorance effectively.

The entire (sarva) temporal world of constant change -- the electrons spinning around the atom, earth spinning around the sun, the galaxy rotating around the milky way, and so forth) are generally characterized by the guna-vrtti. Such in reality, is a never ending magical display which reflects its origin when perceived with opened eyes. From this universal omnipresent and all pervasive boundless point of view, what was previously perceived as dead inanimate phenomena viewed from a straight plane perspective opens up when viewed in the light of universal evolutionary power. Phenomena are now viewed not as reified separate things or entities, but reflections of component relationships that stem all the way back to its primordial origin. The realization that all created things are impermanent and on fire, is now replaced by the deathless Reality which it always reflected but was hidden in past habituations of ignorance (citta-vrtti). Only when these phenomena are understood as a reflection of the whole (not separate entities/egos) will suffering based upon clinging to that which is impermanent be eradicated for ever. The egoic observer's clinging to what appear in dualistic thinking as "separate things" characterized by the gunas and/or fragmented objects of mental thought patterns whose nature is to spin and re-pattern themselves (vrtti), is due to past conditioning and psychic imprints (samskaras) caused in turn by the complex of past painful experiences (duhkhair), kleshas, karma -- negative conditioning. This vicious samsaric circle is to be broken by viveka as all discerning discriminating wisdom penetrates through to the core of the superficial appearances of phenomena.

Similarly, in Buddhism there are denoted three or four general categories of suffering. They are all caused by ignorance (asmita, raga, dvesa, jealousy, greed, denial, and the other kleshas) that, in turn, cause more negative karma and pain due to their action of blocking the rays of all pervading wisdom. Non-dual all pervading wisdom is inside at the core of the mustard seed and everywhere-- all pervading -- all the time unending, but it is commonly not recognized, rather it is commonly ignored.

Suffering of Suffering

The suffering of suffering (Tibetan: sdug bsngal gi sdug bsngal) is the gross/coarse example of recognizing the inherent suffering of existential existence, such as is built on the common dualistic ideation of an ego, for example sickness, old age, death, anticipation, desire, disappointment, depression, grief, unhappiness, discomfort, agitation, stress, etc -- in short duhkha. So, in Buddhism the first type of suffering is coarse or gross obvious suffering. Some one is complaining, crying, beating their hands against the pillow, yelling, being beaten, crying, contemplating suicide, shaking with fear, experiencing a severe nightmare, trying to numb the pain by alcohol or heroin, being tortured, torturing others, mean, killing, raping, insatiably hungry, etc. There are countless examples, but even with these kleshic activities the sufferer may not recognize their anguish, craving, fear, hatred, anger, angst, or rapacious activity as suffering, even if it is obvious to others or not. In short, the suffering of existence ( suffering of suffering) is often confused as seeking pleasure, comfort, happiness, or fulfillment. It is masked by the temporary fulfillment of cravings, which produce temporary pleasure, comfort, or happiness, but actually dissuade us from seeking unconditional and lasting happiness in All Our Relations. The common mindset is dualistic. It resides in subject/object duality where the external objects and forms seduce one as objects to be possessed, which in turn possess the observer. In that manner, the dualistic mindset confuses happiness and fulfillment as the temporary possession of an externalized form and/or the avoidance of an undesirable association of an external form. One confuses temporary comfort or relief, with as happiness; however true and lasting happiness is more than the temporary of a samsaric cycle; rather it is the unending cessation or absolute end of duhkha/samsaric existence.

A classical example of denial is the addict or alcoholic, who may believe that they are experiencing true happiness, but such only leads to more craving and suffering and then its fulfillment. Such is akin to scratching an itch, putting down a heavy load on the left shoulder and placing it on the right, or other similar temporary lifting of burdens, where the stress/burden will eventually return. The egoic mindset, being trapped in delusion and pride, possesses a large bag of tricks to cleverly fool itself to ignore and deny the exposure of its devious and often subtle masquerades in a foolish attempt at protection and survival. Such is the nature of self deceit, egoic seduction, and delusion (mara). Although the tragic suffering of alcoholics are obvious to most observers (except the victim), more subtle addictions like masochistic self-piercing, workaholics, greed-aholics, sex-aholics, thing-aholics, addiction to style, self-aggrandizement, addiction to war, addiction to abuse, addiction to religious ideology, addiction to authority figures or gurus, and similar addictions most often go unnoticed, because they often carry with it the approval of society, peer acceptance, or are considered "normal".

Dealing with human beings who are attached to gross delusion (the egoic mind) is ineffectual until they recognize (viveka) that they are suffering and subsequently make an effort to abandon their suffering propensities by identifying their cause and then abandoning the cause. Otherwise they stay locked in ignorance and delusion until they learn their lesson the hard way. Such is the suffering of suffering (the suffering of self-existence) , briefly stated. In short, if one perceives ones self identity in terms of existential reality through human eyes, human intellect, and static frameworks of time, were past and future are so designated as separate from their present "reality", then inherently there will arise dukha as a result of such fragmented and impure perception. Duhkha, however can be extinguished by recognizing the timeless and all pervading intimate mind-presence intimately, inherent, and unlimited beyond avidya.

The Suffering of Change

Normally one realizes the suffering of existence first as a gross dualistic suffering, then the suffering of change (which we talk about out of order below), and then all pervasive suffering (winch is most subtle) in that order. Subtly then, we can discern the suffering of impermanence (Tibetan: 'gyur ba'i sdug bsngal) where most beings cling onto or become attached to what is not permanent, as if it were permanent, separate fragmented or discrete things, the sense world, friends as objects, people as objects, monasteries or churches, any object, and so forth, which are all subject to the law of impermanence (anitya/anicca).

Through abiding in pure awareness wrought from sublime discriminating wisdom (viveka) without a need to employ personal derived judgments, we no longer falsely identify with subject/object duality, attraction or repulsion; no longer mistaking the temporary and changing nature of "external objects" as being permanent, separate, or substantial, thereby avoiding (false identification) while uprooting samskaras (old psychic imprints and energy signatures imbedded in the cellular memory and neurophysiology. so that the actual patterns of suffering (duhkha) implicit in perceiving the world in terms of its apparent disparate fragments (guna-vrtti) are themselves discerned (viveka). Here the conflicting and confusing world sparked by the manifold permutations (parinama) of samskaras and karma are identified and hold no attraction.

Change without any attachment then becomes a magical display -- the dance of Siva/shakti -- the radiance of primordial consciousness. All that which exists in the world of form (as characterized by the gunas) is on fire, relatives, family, and kin. For a tantric it is experienced as being a celebration of the fire and oblation -- ever changing and impermanent -- an offering of self to the selfless universal Self -- as the Divine Spark of Love being the immutable underlying Source and our true essence (swarupa). This way one avoids conflict and confusion through the sublime wisdom of true and authentic discernment. Here we train the mind to abide simultaneously in the ineffable, changeless, core/heart (hridayam) center which knows no bounds, no end and no beginning.

A wise yogi, Buddha, noted that the world is on fire -- ever changing. One should not be attached to that which is constantly changing and morphing -- that which is impermanent which is none other than the manifest universe as represented by the differentiation of the gunas and apparently disparate momentum (virodha). Finding oneself caught up in fragmented existence (guna-vrtti-virodha) is certainly disturbing (tapa) to the observer who is may be lacking in discriminatory wisdom (viveka), thus confusion (avidya) with its resultant kleshas and duhkha is very likely to occur without self awareness as the ability to recognize one's state of mind and let it go (vairagya). Such clinging onto change, will certainly cause suffering (duhkha). That is what is also called the suffering of change which is closely associated with the second noble truth of Buddhism. That attachment, of clinging onto that which is impermanent, while abandoning that which is changeless and eternally now, is a grave error lacking/ignoring NOW Primordial awareness. That ignorance, lack, and scarcity consciousness is due to past samskaras in turn to past negative emotions (kleshas) and conditioning -- times when the internal neural circuits were put on overload and a short circuit/by pass was created. In short from the place of stillness where the vrtti cease -- our heart/core center -- all (sarva) phenomena are in flux and changing (parinama) "all" (sarva) of existence (gunas) is when viewed from the side of temporality is in itself uneven, fragmented, biased and disparate.

Thus this sutra is not just negative, but points out this huge impediment to spiritual growth (expansion of consciousness) when the mind continually grasps onto objects be they apparent sense objects or merely mental concepts (granted sense objects are also interpreted by the mental concepts). Releasing any and all attachments thus simultaneously opens up new doorway, creates authentic space for clear seeing and new discoveries. If we hold onto the past and are afraid of change (and/or worse armor against it) because we erroneously think that our ego identity will be upset or threatened by transformation, then we will fear and resist change and never learn and grow, Rather we will remain a reactionary ego who armors themselves around fear and pain, and aversion. This aversion to change is the resistance to spiritual growth. It is the formula for bondage. rigidity, and spiritual stagnation. "Who" resists? The egoic mindset.

Of course in the Reality of pure vision (vidya), the recognition of change as the truth of impermanence does not cause mental clinging, anguish, attachment, grief or pain, but the egoic mindset creates the situation because of its tendency toward dualistic and conceptual I/it clinging. Hence the dualistic (subject/object) egoic mindset resists new ideas, information, or input that will contradict its fixated delusion/identity and assumptions/beliefs. Change upsets stubborn beliefs and ego fixations, while further attachment to such increases stress and tension as the world turns. One must learn how to release attachment (vairagya) which is part of every authentic yogi's practice. It requires exceptional courage and ability to accept the truth of "what-is" despite the egoic mind's preferences, predilections, fears, defenses, desires, and prejudice. Here we are not just discussing attachment to things, but to concepts and beliefs. That mental/spiritual stagnation maintains the tight and stifling box of samsara. It is quite restricted and limited.

Realizing the noble truth of "the suffering of change" is actually the path to let go of suffering via vairagya. The truth/realization sets us free from being its unconscious slave. It comes part and parcel with the sword of discriminating wisdom. One has the ability NOW to recognize Now Awareness in the preciousness of the moment as a precious opportunity to practice (sadhana) and take responsibility for one's own liberation NOW, by recognizing the clinging, the cause of the clinging, nature of the clinging, the "who" and "what" of the clinging, the interdependence of all beings and phenomena, and the source of universal primordial consciousness which is always Here/Now (Now Awareness) by residing HERE outside of conventions of sequential time, place, and causality, Hence "the Suffering of Change" is a welcome realization allowing us to become free from attachment as it discloses the open doorway of our immediate freedom now. Viveka thus clears the path for the transpersonal and non-dual wisdom which is facilitated via a functional vairagya (see I.12-18).

All Pervasive Suffering of Conditioning

Attachment to things or phenomena is still gross/coarse compared to all pervasive suffering, because it involves mostly the ideation of a separate observable gross physical world (phenomena) and a separate observer (ego). That is where the mind tends to compound/conceptualize separate "things" in subject/object duality. That limited framework is incomplete and causes angst/duhkha.

What is called all pervasive suffering is much more subtle. By all pervasive, this type of suffering pervades all dualistic mindsets. All mindsets that are defined by temporary conditions, karmic conditions, limited concepts, subject/object duality, the citta vrtti, etc. By all pervasive it does not mean it is unending, or does it? Rather, one must understand it through personal inquiry and direct revelation. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Since all suffering is impermanent, then it would be fair to say that the all pervading suffering of conditioning is a subset of the suffering of attachment to impermanence. So to be clear this discussion is moving from gross to the more subtle, eventually to the removal of suffering. We start with our own mental obscurations (kleshas) and karma, and then once liberated, we naturally have compassion to move us to skillfully liberate others in pure love. At this point it is valuable to distinguish between two definitions of suffering so we do not conflate them. One is the definition that we have been using as how our own minds cause suffering or unhappiness. The other definition is a referent to the "suffering of the world". In any case when we wake up our our affective state is compassionate, joyful, and lucid.

The compounding of so called reified "phenomena" can appear in many ways. One way is that which we perceive as external objects are merely superficial appearances, not the whole story. For example, salt can combine with water, as salt-water, or carbon with oxygen forming carbon-dioxide, etc. These compounds will also break down. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end (are impermanent). Even if we try to put EVERYTHING together as a perfect "Great Something", that "Great Something" will also change in the next moment, unless we bring in the idea of primordial time/primordial wisdom (but we can't do that in this present dualistic context yet). The great everything as a constructed aggregate of objects glued together by the mind is an artifact which is fabricated by the mind -- at best our best guess. It too follows anicca/anitya (the principle of impermanence) and if clinging is involved leads to suffering. Thus through viveka (as pure lucidity), we can break that process down into emergence (arising), expansion, or manifesting on one hand, versus dissolution, contraction, or convergence on the other, as an active principle of (expansive/contractive or emerging/converging) pulsation (spanda). This pulsation (spanda) is ongoing between source/creation -- siva/shakti. It encompasses existence and ordinary linear time. It has no beginning, middle, or end. Even a mountain, a planet, solar system, galaxy, or a universe have a beginning, middle, and end as do all created phenomena. That is the same realization of anicca/anitya above; i.e., that all phenomena is impermanent (anitya), but the key difference here is in the approach. Here we are dealing directly with the mind and its ideation/reification process; i.e., how the individual mind creates suffering. We start to see through the appearances of phenomena into their true nature. As our inner eye opens in clear lucidity, the true nature of phenomena is naturally revealed as well. We see how it is the conceptual mind which constructs seemingly solid and separate sense data as separate solid independent phenomena (which are really only superficial appearances) and makes them into words or bigger "things". That is how the mind constructs, fabricates, rearranges, and reifies what is-as-it-is into complex absurdities, hallucinations, mental prisons and limited frameworks (ignorance). That result is also called compounded phenomena which is likened to a hallucination, like a dream, or like a phantom. In truth it is simply an error of thought.... more or less until this tendency is broken up and abandoned.

Throughout human history people have searched for the ultimate building block, elemental essence, or  solid substance upon which the universe is based. There has also been may postulations of what an all encompassing complete universe (as an accumulation of all "things" can look like). Both attempts fail unless we get all the way to zero (beginningless) on one hand and infinity on the other. Such are the subjects of many Buddhist contemplative inquiries. But if we get to the true nature of form (within an awareness of the formational process) we can no longer break things down into a beginning, a middle, or an end. Such awareness is the true context of primordial wisdom, while the rest are imposed sequential limitations by limited thinking (conceptualization). Therefore, this is the second aspect of "compounded things" where it is the dualistic mind, which compounds, ideates, fabricates, conceptualizes, constructs, and arranges "phenomena" according to limited frameworks. Not only is that process of compounding phenomena impermanent, it is entirely delusional, made up, and artificial. It never truly existed the way we thought or perceived it to be in the first place, except as a fancy – a projection of our ignorance.  In that context, absolute and relative reality; emptiness and form; prajna (wisdom) and karuna (compassion), etc. are united. What has been removed is the delusional tendency to make more or less of it, to obscure the true nature of phenomena through the process of projecting endless mental complexities/elaborations (as conceptualization processes) upon what is as the true nature of phenomena, dharmata. What may satisfy the proclivities and desire of the self centered and prideful egoic mind (asmita) serves to obscure pure lucidity.  

This third category of suffering is called, all pervasive suffering (Tibetan: khyab pa 'du byed kyi sdug bsngal), which is most subtle. It speaks more to our mental attitude toward existence and self more directly (albeit all the prior sufferings are conclusions made by a misguided mental attitude). This is also called the suffering of being conditioned, but normally (in Samkhya and early Buddhism) the suffering is blamed on existence, phenomena, the senses, sense objects, perceptual process of organizing sense data, our intentions, and negative emotions ... in short the skandhas (the aggregations), rather than on faulty mental interpretation; i.e., how the normal mind becomes conditioned, habituated, corrupted, perverted, fascinated, seduced, prejudiced, or influenced in error. In short the normal conditioned mind misinterprets the signals from the skandhas. The skandhas per se are not the problem, but rather difficulties arise when the superficial appearances of form (rupa or form is the first skanda) are taken as disparate and discrete solid essences by themselves. We could get into a large discussion on how this relates directly to the deeper insight that viveka provides and how that relates to samadhi sunya (III.3) as form (rupa) is empty of a separate self, while all "things" are known non-dually as interdependent, yet not compounded (transconceptual/non-dual). A very large subject which authentic yoga brings to foreground.

Buddha said:

"The suffering of being conditioned is not apparent when it arises, remains or ceases, but it is still the cause of suffering.

Although not gross or obvious, conditioning/programming is insidious, and invokes the most subtle awareness, which is free from karmic conditioning entirely. When this contemplation/recognition goes beyond even the most subtle into a recognition of its empty nature, then the natural unconditioned happiness which destroys suffering will spontaneously arise.

One example follows:  I am sitting in meditation as a sentient human being upon the earth struggling against gravity, struggling to stay alive in order to practice dharma, struggling to practice under conditions of increasing old age, sickness, and approaching death. Being still dependent upon objects of form, still plagued by negative emotions, limited perceptions, small aspirations, and limited consciousness, where all conditions are recognized as unbearable burdens and limited self identifications, I recognize my mind induced habitual condition (a subtle pre-existing condition), where all existence is recognized as containing suffering. Recognizing this universal condition for all suffering sentient beings (buddhas and bodhisattvas excepted), no longer running away from my self induced mental pain, I vow to become free from the causes of suffering. Recognizing the causes and abandoning them, compassion automatically wells up inside me, and is generated toward all beings and things. Love and healing become my general outward bhava (demeanor or attitude).      

So becoming free from all pervasive suffering one simply needs to know its cause (ignorance), not ignore it. Then the cause is removed. That is wisdom in action. In this case the all pervasive suffering is a result of negative mental conditioning by past negative programming – causes and conditions. It's eliminated through positive conditioning (dharma practice) or perhaps more simply put by releasing negative propensities and thought habits. Just drop it! Your choice.

The elimination of the conditioned mind brings forth the natural unconditioned mind or rather primordial wisdom – the wisdom of all buddhas. One must desire to embrace this change. This is accomplished by a change in the way we view self and other, or classically the way the mind has been conditioned to assemble the skandhas, of which form (rupa) is the first. To be sure, it is not that the skandhas themselves need be disassembled or negated, rather what is to be changed is the conditioned habituated way which the mind has ideated their existence, or rather their apparent approximations.

Thus, form (rupa), is not a problem by itself, but rather the problem is what/how the mind determines that form exists or does not exist. Similarly it is not a matter that feelings or sensations are at fault, but how we deal with our feelings and sensations (are we experiencing esthetic beauty, joy, inspiration, happiness, love, equanimity, and friendliness or not). What is our the present affective state of being in the moment?

Similarly it is not an error of will, but rather of  how and where we place our intention and will; e.g., is it placed within the realm of self centeredness and selfishness or is it used as a means for inspired dharmic aspiration and liberation. The same can hold true to all the skandhas as whether they are placed within a dualistic framework of self and other, or within a non-dual framework. The skandhas can act interdependently and seamlessly when not fragmented by a fragmented mindset. That is another way of saying that not only all "things" are empty of a separate/independent self existence (not substantial or solid), but also the skandhas. When our perception and consciousness is no longer limited by the imposition of samsara's dualistic mindset, then all pervasive suffering naturally is also disappears. Here the skandhas, per se, are not necessary negated (as they are thought of in Theravadin), just the sense that they are dominating, separate, independent, and not seamlessly interdependent. Here it is not that the skandhas themselves are the determining cause of ignorance (and hence suffering) rather suffering is the result of the mind's ignorance, its misperception, negative conditioning, and delusional habits. So there is a higher level of refinement stated in the Madhyamaka, which cuts through the basis of "all pervasive suffering" – which points to the possibility of an embodied liberation through the interconnection of form (rupa) and emptiness, beingness and consciousness, nature and spirit, earth and heaven, muladhara and sahasrara, shakti and shiva, left and right, etc.

For example in Theravada one does not say form (rupa) is empty, exactly. Rather it is said that the self, as observer, is empty of a substantial inherent existence (anatta), while rupa is impermanent (appears to exist but is in motion, on fire, is changing from moment to moment). That type of relationship is like being in a swirl (samsaric wheel). As long as we don't try to hold on, then we are OK – ha ha. Because skanda means heap or aggregate  nit is a form of compounding. It does not just refer to "form", but to how the mind compounds "things" – mistakenly makes/fabricates or constructs things into groups or aggregates. 

However in Madhyamaka, form (rupa) is also empty of self -- selfless, like anatta. Likewise in Mahayana, not all emotions or sensations are defiled. Like lasting unconditional transpersonal happiness, exaltation, friendliness, sympathetic joy, bliss, boundless enthusiasm, inspiration, etc., are known as positive emotions.  The same goes for the rest of the five skandhas, i.e., will, perception, and consciousness when they are viewed seamlessly as interdependent and guided by wisdom. Here we may wander into Yogacara, which is another Mahayana system which explains this better, or maybe it is better to stay within Madhyamaka.  

So in Madhyamaka (middle-path) Buddhism the skandhas are also empty of self existence, but non-the-less function interdependently or non-dually. This approach to the I think we can approach the middle-way (Madhyamaka) in terms of non-duality, in so far that "things" (form) are empty of self from the very beginning, where it is merely the mind which projects a solid independent "thingness" to phenomena, while in fact all things are interconnected/interdependent. Hence the subtle all pervasive suffering ceases in that way. If that is realized experientially (say through meditation) then there are no solid objects to cling to, no self who suffers, no suffering mind, as the mind has become liberated in regards to its habitual fascination with dualistic limitations.

Chogyam Trungpa neatly defines the form aggregate as the "solidification" of ignorance (avidya). In the first turning of the Buddhist dharma, one is taught to apprehend the aggregates without clinging or self-identification. In the Prajnaparamita (second turning) one is taught to apprehend the aggregates as having no intrinsic reality except emptiness of self.

In the Heart Sutra's second verse, Avalokitesvara says after rising from his contemplation on the aggregates:

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form, "form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness."

According to Trungpa Rinpoche, the five skandhas are;

"a set of Buddhist concepts which describe experience as a five-step process" and that "the whole development of the five skandha system is the ego's attempt to shield oneself from the truth of our insubstantiality," while "the practice of meditation is to see the transparency of this shield."

The skandhas do not exist by themselves. They are parts of a greater interdependent process. Causes and conditions (pratityasamutpada) or karma are the interdependent process or force, while sunyata or all pervasive space is the loci – or is kunzhi (alaya) as the all ground, the loci of emptiness? Is the mind a loci of emptiness or the loci of emptiness, is what we call the mind?

It is safe to say that form is not just empty but it is translucent. It opens all doorless doors into the absolute, just as the absolute opens all doorless doors into the all.

Most importantly and most subtly, right here and now, one should contemplate whether there exists a subtle clinging to conditioned world -- to causes and conditions as they appear to be, identification with our universe, body, planet, belief systems, or concepts and be willing to recognize the all inclusive primordial wisdom which encompasses it and which also lies outside it.

So to reiterate there are classically 3 categories of suffering:
1) suffering of suffering (gross and obvious suffering)
2) suffering of change which includes suffering due to clinging onto events, things, people, and self.
3) all pervasive suffering (which is most subtle) as the mental "compounding of phenomena" based on ignorance/separation.

All are the result of causes and conditions and hence can be liberated. See also the mechanisms of "PAIN", "The Fear of Living","AVOIDANCE", "Repression", "Fear of Pleasure", and "DENIAL"

Departing from the Traditional Samkhya Interpretation

Departing from the traditional samkhya interpretation, we understand nature or nature's evolutes characterized by the guna-vrtti are not to be isolated, avoided, negated, nor misunderstood in the context of fragmented, separate, or isolated phenomena, rather the enlightened view of the guna-vrtta would be to see them as operating in a coordinated and coherent way as interdependent and related. The gunas, nature, form, phenomena, or the skandhas are not the problem, rather our preconceived perceptions of them as being fragmented or limited (Separate from the whole) creates a needless mental conundrum, which imposes suffering. They are not the cause of suffering, bondage, nor ignorance, but rather it is the way we misunderstand the body, nature (prakriti), embodiment, evolution, and primordial time causes mental suffering. Again this is because we tend to understand them as fragmented pieces, rather than in terms of the non-dual profundity of the hologram. The confusion is in the limited masquerade of the egoic mindset, not the the fault of the object of our perception. Once the limited mindset (citta-vrtti) has become liberated (nirodha), then the observer rests in clear vision (vidya)-- in true lucency. Then errors of actions caused by errors of preconceived misperception no longer occur.

Any problem (that could be called a problem) is due to an error of perception (avidya); i.e., acquired ignorance. The pain, suffering, burning, and samskaras of change do not come from nature or the gunas at all, but from a mental error its objectification and then attachment to it, as if it were permanent, fixed, independent, or self existing by itself. Indeed nature is in constant motion -- ever changing. When evolution is recognized as a continuous creative flow from seed source to manifestation, then the fixated samskaras and suffering dissolves. Again the problem is not the changing nature of the gunas or prakrti who are always innocent, but the embedded psychic imprints (samskaras) which insist that nature be solid, permanent, inert, and dead.

Viveka is mentioned for the first time here in Sutra II.15. In samkhya, viveka is most often understood as simple discriminating awareness or the discernment process in general that uses comparison or reductionist methods, where an object is analyzed in isolation from the whole (that is the samkhya philosophical definition). The assumption is that an object truly exists as separate from something else. That may be at best an elementary phase of viveka, as basic awareness, but that kind of discernment is from the intellect (buddhi) and remains chronic in samkhya. Using the intellect in lieu of the sublime yogic viveka is not wise. Rather viveka, as discriminatory wisdom, is a profound tool which becomes ever more sharpened through yogic practices.

This is brought up here in order to cogently distinguish between viveka as a non-dual process free from ego and the intellect, which is a discernment not made by the traditional samkhya interpreters, and non-dual awareness. Indeed if one imagines that viveka is limited only to the isolation and separation process(as in breaking things down to its most rudimentary parts), then one winds up with fragmentation, not yoga. That fragmentation where everything is in isolated parts indeed brings forth pain duhkham eva sarvam vivekinah. The problem with the the common samkhya interpretation is that they take viveka as "discriminating or isolating one thing from another which feeds the conclusion that this is a culmination of yoga (having taken liberation (kaivalyam) as being isolation). If however we take viveka to mean the awareness of the process of how all things and beings are interdependent and have no separate self existence -- how relative reality mutually defines each constituent part in terms of a unified whole, then the culmination becomes wholly integrative and wholographic. In that sense viveka becomes a profound discriminatory wisdom simultaneously capable of recognizing the finest differentiation of everchanging phenomena in terms of the their interdependence, history, evolution, and origin. Viveka once refined, is all seeing differentiated awareness with nothing excluded or of need of inclusion. It is the working awareness of the relative interdependent nature of all form (rupa) which is integrated with the param-purusa (Siva).

So to reiterate to be sure, viveka thus does not belong to buddhi (the intellect) and thus is not mere intellectualization. Different stages of viveka can be discerned as the conscious awareness of the ongoing process of waking up is revealed as a process of recognizing this mutuality (seeing all things as interdependent parts of a continuous whole). In the end viveka reveals the universal seed source in everything. It is the realization of the innate resonant harmony between relative and absolute -- prakrti and purusa, shakti and shiva as an inseparable whole..

In a yogic sense then a beginning state of viveka is simple seeing/sensing, noticing, or witnessing as in self awareness, but such a state is limited by the contents of the mind (the observed and observer). If this is under the direction of the ordinary mind (manas), buddhi (intellect), and will power then the perception (pratyaksha) is thus colored and limited. Ordinary human beings whose citta-vrtti are so afflicted start making inferences via anumana (ordinary intellectual analysis). If they are average “thinkers” then taking the testimony of others (agama) or not, they will make up a theory or belief (pramana) about what they are sensing which creates a wall between what they are viewing and what is=as-it-is in its true nature. Hence perception is distorted (in ordinary pratyaksha or pramana. Also if this process is dominated by the sense organs, then the awareness is also limited (see the sutras on pratyhara at the end of Pada II).

Thus in the yogic meaning of viveka, the beginning process is very different from samkhya. Yogic viveka is naked awareness --NOW seeing, NOW awareness, recognition; simply being present. This is direct perception not intervened by ego, buddhi, or manas..

Instead of having the sense organs controlled or dominated by the intellect (buddhi) or by learned beliefs inherited by the views of others (agama) leading to pramana, one rather is informed by direct experience/communion in the Great Integrity afforded by the HeartMind and deeply feels it as-it-is in its true self nature or at least persists in that attempt.. Here the sense organs are not servants to the intellect and ego, but to the non-dual Heartmind. That is the heightened viveka. So first viveka is simple awareness, but that awareness can grow in meditation and other yoga practices (see II.26-28) to reveal the non-dual whole.  

Here, viveka in the yogic sense is an integrative wisdom where phenomena and objects are discerned in relationship to everything else (sarva vivekinah). This crucial difference from the samkhya use of of the words, viveka and vivekinah, is crucial to understanding this sutra and future sutras, Thus viveka is not to be confused with merely an intellectual, analytical, reductionist, or comparative process of the intellect (buddhi). Rather basic viveka is that application of pure awareness that notices, watches, and observes forms. objects, and phenomena in terms of the functioning of how the mental processes themselves may be distorting the perception; i.e., what is happening with the citta-vrtti without imposing any further philosophical frameworks, reference points, words, values, comparative analysis, conceptual frameworks, or judgment. In the mountain yogi tradition phenomena (all things) are understood in context as-it-is -- in terms of the whole (sarva).

If a samkhya interpreter insists, on viveka being analytical then this sutra could read; indeed (eva) when all things are broken asunder by those mind fields dominated by the intellect (sarvam vivekinah) one experiences all as painful and unsatisfactory (duhkham eva sarvam vivekinah). All differentiations are morphing and changing and in that world one can not grasp onto anything without losing it (guna-vrtti-virodha). Such craving for permanence and solidity in that which is by nature impermanent and empty of an independent self, leaves a residual negative impression upon the field of consciousness, karmic storehouse, and conditions (samskara), which then creates an additional craving (raga) to avoid pain and objects (dvesa) and further experience hoping for escape and release in non-existence. Hence a state of mind fraught with constant conflict and strife is created which only produces more sorrow, pain, and spiritual self estrangement (parinama-tapa-samskara-duhkhair).

They are not satisfied (duhkham) -- these separate things-- there is no escape ultimately. From there it is too easy to fall into the error of avoidance, escapism, denial, or nihilism. Thus would be an error in our desire to escape from painful and unsatisfactory experience, to place the fault upon existence and experience, rather than the psychic mold/frame which our aberrant mental processes have created. The error is not in life, but in faulty concepts, beliefs, and dysfunctional habits and tendencies (vasana, klesha, karma, and samskara).  When evolution is understood as a continuous ever changing process from Source – as the revealer of source, as its emissary and open doorway, as the objective means which eternal Source  is known then the apparently paradoxical distinct phenomena (guna-vrtti virodha) will instead of dissuading them, will serve to bring them home, rather than to reinforce the negative conditioning and imprints (samskara) due to ignorance, (avidya), residual painful experiences  (duhkha),  fear (dvesa), and attachment. So much for levity.

This is a living systems approach where "things" and beings are known in relationship, versus isolation. Things are known correctly (as-it-is) by understanding also how the mind perceives "things". For example how is it that you, the reader, know the created world of things and beings? First one apprehends sense objects, through the sense organs, then it is "interpreted. If the interpretation is colored by pramana or any other of the citta-vrtti, then one will come up with a distorted picture - a misapprehension. How could you analyze the object accurately without some outside information? Like you could taste it, smell it squeeze it, observe its various qualities, compare it with other objects, take it apart, and so forth, but your knowledge of the object would remain limited and biased, be it a shooting star or finger if perceived in thee manners. However if you placed your sense organs in alignment with its intrinsic beginningless seed source origin so that the all pervasive transpersonal inner light inside recognizes itself inside all beings and things, then the manifold diversity of the many is seen as-it-is within the timeless universality of the one. All things not being the same, but being themselves are truly known and experienced simultaneously as they truly are as you experience who you truly are. This is then the process of first going to Universal Source and coming from Universal Source (origin) of both self and all objects and thus knowing things in such a relationship. Thus just as the tree has as its source, the seed; so too does the fruit of the tree allow us to trace back and know the seed as its contingency.

That is a heightened form of viveka which differentiated consciousness (relative awareness) is put into service to help us realize samadhi, so that in every action, word, and thought we may walk the path of beauty and harmony forever -- we know all as a living reflection of Great Spirit. This conscious power/ability is strengthened as we will see in II.26 through practicing astanga yoga. Eventually we realize that undifferentiated awareness and differentiated awareness conjoin as sarva-jnanam. In this higher vision (khyati) of viveka, cit is brought together and merges with differentiated reality.

In Raj yoga (the Yoga of Patanjali) the word, viveka, thus is not an intellectual inquiry utilizing anumana (inference) or conceptual speculations (vikalpa), but rather as has been shown is naked awareness without distortion, an attentive mindfulness not based on fragmentation, and an NOW awareness which is repeatedly visited, applied, and ripened in astanga yoga and especially meditation (dhyana) practice (sadhana). Thus in the yoga context, viveka is developed to a very sharp point through consistent application/practice over time. It goes hand in hand with vairagya (non-attachment) as abhyasa-vairagyabhyam) to realize in turn a-vrtti-virodha. This way the mental processes (cit-vrtti) do not become stirred up, further distracted, become fixated, or dissipated upon objects of thought or phenomena.

In meditation practice the ordinary mind often wanders at first (because of vasana, vrtti, karma, samskara, and klesha). This wandering, dullness, attraction, repulsion, or spinning is noticed and cut short by the sharpness of viveka and through the application of vairagya (by letting it go). Through yogic application of viveka one rests the mind in pure and effortless awareness -- awareness of awareness -- and as such the innate Intelligent Source of awareness is eventually disclosed (through patient practice). Here the intelligent power that empowers viveka of the intellect (buddhi) goes beyond mahat to purusa -- the intrinsic self luminous omnipresent seed source (purusa) residing in all. That is nirvikalpa and asamprajnata non-dual realization which is facilitated at first by viveka, but which leads us back to its source which is not in the intellect (buddhi), but in the unborn formless purusa.

In classical meditation practice there exist many classic ways to deal with the wandering (monkey) mind after wandering has been noticed in viveka. One school recommends reigning it back in to the present -- to sitting meditation, the breath, concentration or meditation. A second school recommends simply letting go of the discursive monkey mind thoughts once one recognizes (through viveka) that the mind contents (pratyaya) have wandered, thus coming back to the meditation. These two are similar but in the former there is more of an effort or force and thus the possibility of inhibition, repression, and even hypervigilence. In the second school there it is more of a letting go (vairagya) and thus effort is not applied except in noticing -- in applying viveka as pure awareness. However in this second application vairagya alone can create stupor, dullness, sleepiness, or spaciness in extreme. So what is needed is a balance and harmonization (sattva) where samsaric attachment is balanced out and nullified allowing firth natural purity to self arise.. Here viveka and vairagya act as a synergistic team. Here we are training the mind through meditation to eliminate the vrtti and kleshas through viveka and vairagya.

A third classic way to deal with the wandering of the monkey mind is through active visualization practice, specific dharanas, and similar practices such as found in laya, hatha, kundalini, and tantra yoga thus riding the dragons to heaven. This third way is only faintly alluded to in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (mainly in pada three under the many samyama practices), but is prevalent in later day hatha, kundalini, laya, and tantra yoga. By no longer dissipating one's energy (cit-prana) in the dissipating distractions of the monkey mind caused by past samskaras, karma, and avidya, then tapas (psychic heat) is generated and harnessed which feeds the dynamo for further spiritual growth. Here skillful meditation serves as the gateway for knowing "Self".

A fourth school merely recognizes the true nature of mind and rests in non-dual realization throughout merging inner undifferentiated wisdom (prajna) with viveka (differentiated wisdom or wisdom of the relative world). In Buddhism this is the synergistic synchronization of relative and absolute reality.

So, in dhyana as a suitable practice for this revelation our attention may become distracted at first through painful past experiences, past karmic deeds or samskaras, and dvesa-vrtti circuits may be unconsciously as potentially painful images or objects/things appear. These are very self limiting prisons of asmita (the ego oriented mind) due to asmita-dvesa.

In dhyana we first we notice that the attention has become attached or distracted through activating discriminating awareness (viveka) (mindfulness), then we release that attachment or aversion through vairagya. This is awareness meditation. The citta-vrtti arise, the attention becomes attached, a greater awareness becomes aware of tha attachment. The yogi then releases the thought and abides in the the stillness between the cessation of the previous thought and the beginning if the next. The spaces between the end of the previous thought and the next thought becomes longer -- as one becomes used to abiding in absolute stillness. This is formless meditation (dhyana) which trains the mind in asamprajnata non-dual awareness cultivating the state where there is no separate self (asmita), no separate object to observe, but rather non-dual union.

Practice: Through instant recognition in profound viveka, attachment to the suffering inherent in fragmented thought processes become simultaneously liberated in instant presence. Silent sitting emptiness meditation where the sadhak can clear out the contents of their minds entirely of conceptual thought processes and obstructions helps one realize directly and subjectively the great truth behind vairagya. Then vairagya can be implemented in daily life in tandem with a functional meditation practice as catalyst. Through vairagya (letting go of the kleshas, thought patterns, citta-vrtti, and obstructions facilitates the ability to see clearly and truly viveka-khyatir how nature and consciousness operates from its primordial source naturally.

For more on viveka see also sutra 26, 28 here in Sadhana Pada and in Pada IV: Kaivalyam Sutras 8, 15, 21, 26, 27, 29


II. 16. Heyam duhkham anagatam

The misery (duhkham) which is not yet come (anagatam), can and is to be avoided/eliminated (heya).

duhkham: misery, suffering, pain, unhappiness, discomfort. Duhkha can be caused by either aversion (disinclination or neurotic compensatory attraction (raga). The chief cause of duhkha is non-recognition of the all pervading universal boundless true nature of mind.

heya: that which is eliminated, abandoned, or eliminated.

Commentary: Cyclic existence (samsara) is destroyed whence karma, kleshas, and vrtti are annihilated through an effective sadhana such as meditation. Authentic practice can prevent suffering and pain, thus suffering is not unavoidable.

This is the third noble truth of Buddhism., the cessation of suffering. How is this done, by eliminating ignorance which reveals the innate essential buddha nature -- our true nature -- swarupa sunyam.

Just as in II.15 above, in meditation, resting in this sorrowless state which meditation affords us, creates a positive momentum of its own destroying the seeds of future suffering allowing us to rest outside the wheel of cyclic existence (samsara) for ever increasing periods. Skilful yogic practices remove avidya and sharpen awareness (viveka). What holds the ignorance and suffering together (called bondage) is samyoga (an extension of false limited identification with our conditioned "self" or ego -- a conflation). Ego is not the true self.

The Blues as a Spiritual Teaching

"The blues" is an American musical art form that has given birth to many other artful and innovative forms. Its roots are expressed as the recognition of mental/spiritual suffering (duhkha) and its causes (raga/dvesa), jealousy, greed, lack of self esteem (shame) and other such vagaries of asmita and avidya kleshas. As such, they are wisdom stories set to sound, timbre, rhythm, and phrasing that explores, expresses, and reflects the first two noble truths of Buddhism. Rather than "pretty up" or ignore one's situation, the blues artist meets it full on, thus, overcoming fear. These songs and melodies thus tell a story, often disclosing the condition, its causes, and its remedies.

Therefore, it creates a narrative and context, wherein the four noble truths of Buddhism become explicated. starting with duhkha (suffering) as the basis. The blues tell a story of the operations and mechanisms of human clinging, anger, passion, oppression, injustice, hatred, survival, frustration, grief, fear, pride, jealousy, and greed -- as well the value of its transcendence through wisdom, love, compassion, inspiration, empathetic joy (mudita), comradeship, celebration, a sense of transcendental justice, inner strength, equanimity (upeksa), appreciation, humility, and esthetic beauty. Instead of ignoring human emotions, everyday human entanglements, and esthetic forces that generally run the gamut of modern human life, the blues fearlessly meet them head on. In particular, the blues offer a mechanism on how to effectively deal with grief, frustration, and anger, not allowing it to destroy one's spirit, but rather integrate, learn from, and transform it, thus becoming empowered by our experiences. Good blues are thus wisdom stories -- stories of experience, courage, inner strength, and resilience.

The first noble truth (the grasping onto a limited context of views or citta-vrtti, is disclosed as the source of mental pain (suffering). It is a rather huge step, when we learn that dealing with samsaric limitations depends upon our attitude and mindset. Not knowing how to deal effectively with our grief and pain closes many people down, unknowingly. Mental pain is where many people become chronically boxed in and where many people attempt to avoid through denial mechanisms. Most people in an attempt to avoid pain, try to ignore both its symptoms and its causes; hence unfortunately the causes remain hidden and covered over. When the causes remain hidden and obscured, then the hidden ignorant mechanisms/patterns simply repeat itself in louder cadences, until pain forces one to deal with it. Acknowledged, met, and dealt with; it then becomes liberated. As we have been discussing, the recognition of our pain, fears, avoidance mechanisms, and oppressive situations is the first step in unraveling the mechanism of samsara. Because this recognition is something that human beings tend to dysfunctionally and chronically avoid, ignore, or neurotically bury (as if by closing one's eyes and ignoring it, it does not exist), it therefore is both healthy and liberating to recognize it and admit to it as our experience. Those who pretend that they are too smart to have suffered or that they are beyond suffering, live in self deceit, delusion, and denial. All sentient beings have experienced suffering, even the Buddha and sages. The proposition that suffering can be transformed is the testament of the blues and also the yogis. For the transformation to occur however, the suffering pre-condition must be met, recognized, and accepted. This allows us to meet our fears and demons, and hence become empowered to deal with them. Only after one recognizes the cause of suffering (the second truth) in this case, through narrative of hearing the blues, can one enter the path of its remediation. Freedom from the pain (rather ignorance) is pointed out as liberation (the third truth). The fourth truth (the path) is the blues itself -- is listening to the blues, feeling authentically, consciously contemplating on it, singing, dancing, catharting, and/or playing it as a direct method of exploring the process and letting the joy, love, and higher evolutionary creative power come through as group communion when direct transmission occurs through master musicians functioning at their creative transconceptual and transpersonal peaks.

"I've laid in a ghetto flat. Cold and numb.
I heard the rats tell the bedbugs to give the roaches some.
Everybody wanna know.
Why I'm singing the blues.
Yes, I've been around a long time People,
I've paid my dues...
Now Father Time is catching up with me.
Gone is my youth.
I look in the mirror everyday.
And let it tell me the truth.
I'm singing the blues. Mmm,
I just have to sing the blues.
I've been around a long time.
Yes, yes, I've really really paid my dues".

~ BB King, "Why I Sing the Blues"

When the blues are played in the context of the community of co-emergent musicians, a co-emergent listening audience, and a co-emergent larger spiritual community intact with nature -- in the larger co-creative joyful context of All Our Relations, then it attains to a magical or spiritual transpersonal group mass happening, a group recognition, and awakening -- a positive spiritual imprint is impressed beyond the intellect. In that sense, like good art, it becomes a vital sacred ritual; it awakens the latent transconceptual innate spirit within the human being; and thus urges them forward, informs and inspires us, encourages and empowers us to overcome our self imposed limitations and estrangement, be it reinforced by the society/environment (conditions), mental constructs, or on the other hand by an interactive combination as All Our Relations. This is how listening to or playing the blues helps us to directly move into our highest creative, non-dual, and transpersonal potential.

II. 17. drastr-drsyayoh samyogo heya-hetuh

Samyogah (the dualistic conflation of sameness) is caused (hetuh) through a self-limiting association and reification process, where the objectification of a separate "self" or knower is identified and defined in conjunction with that which is designated as separate or reified (phenomena), or when the observer and the observed are conflated to be one and the same. That confusion (samyoga) is to be eradicated (heya).

hetu: cause

heya: Eliminated, annihilated, silenced, annulled, removed, destroyed, or canceled out

drastr: In dualistic terms, the one who sees; the seer; the observer; the potential for censoriousness.

drsyayoh: of the seen. of the apprehensible, of the knowable. That which belongs to the seen or known

sam: from sama, meaning the same, sameness, equivalence.

samyoga: Literally, the same as. Sameness. A conflation, equivocation, and/or confusion of one thing as being the same as another thing. Identifying imputed separate entity with another phenomenal entity which is the object of its confusion. False identification. The addiction of an egoic fixation or entanglement of identification in general, hence a false identification. This includes the gooey mechanisms of self-cherishing, narcissism, and ego-centricity which entangle the ego in its samsaric prison (citta-vrtta). A false identification, delusion, or corrupt conjoining of one thing as another thing by the mind. A specific kind of citta-vrtti where a self created bondage to subject/object duality occurs. The confusion of sameness where one thing is equivocated as being the same as something else, rather than compared in terms of its wholistic mutuality (in terms of the whole). It is the error of over-generalization taking the specific phenomena or event to be the whole, or extrapolating the whole to be the same as the specific such as in stereotyping, monism, etc. The classical statement, "it is all the same" is typical of the predicament of samyogah, where there is failure to recognize differentiated reality. Phenomena are not the same; yet they are all interconnected. Stating that it's all the same, avoids diversity Rather it is the honing of viveka that reveals the undifferentiated presence (love-wisdom) inherent in All Our Relations. Differentiated reality(relative/interdependent reality) and undifferentiated reality (absolute primordial light and awareness) in reality have never been disconnected, except by the dull minded. They are inseparable as the one is in the all, and the all is one integrity. It is only ignorance (unawareness) that obscures one's view. Through heightened viveka this light shines forth as an ever-present magical display in the interconnected life of a realized yogi in All Our Relations.

Samyoga is a limited composite of two or more different things which are assumed to be one and the same. Although things are not independent from everything else, the error of samyoga mistakes the composite as an independent entity. Samyoga is a contrived, inaccurate, and conceptualized conglomerate, which often substitutes as an ersatz "reality". In one sense karmic conditions are samyoga, in so far that it appears substantial and solid, but is temporary and illusory. That i the eternalistic error. The nihilistic error, is to take undifferentiated reality as all encompassing, as it becomes an absolutist negation exclusiveness. Rather, samyoga is dispelled when undifferentiated truth and differentiated truth are known as the great truth -- the great non-dual integrity of the two in one.

Conflation/samyogo occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, become confused until there seems to be only a single identity — the differences appear to become lost. In logic, the practice of treating two distinct concepts as if they were one does often produce error or misunderstanding — but not always — as a fusion of distinct subjects tends to obscure analysis of relationships which are emphasized by contrasts.

Commentary: According to the previous sutra, duhkha (misery) is to be avoided. This sutra speaks both to the cause (the dualistic confusion of samyoga) and to the remedy of duhkha. What is to be eliminated is the conflation called samyoga, where the seer and the seen (objects) are neither identified as the same, nor are they reified as being separate. In short, two dualistic errors are to be avoided. One confusion occurs where one identifies or finds their identification in relationship to a world of isolated and fragmented phenomena as being defined as that phenomena. The other error is where the ego-sense (asmita-klesha) identifies as being separate/isolated from all phenomena. Both are errors of the fragmented mindset (confusion). When confusion is eliminated duhkha (physical and mental pain or anguish) is eliminated. The mind no longer identifies with objects, nor does the mind identify with the self as an observer (as an object who views an object). Here the self (experiencer and that which is experienced neither are fixated upon. Hence one directly destroys subject/object duality. Here no limiting self-identification is experienced.

Instead of identifying within the framework of a dualistic phenomenological experience, the yogi realizes non-dual integration as being inter-connected in an uncontrived profound mutuality.

This is a pivotal sutra, but is often needlessly presented as intellectually complex, thus further confusing many readers. Granted most readers have already become seduced into egoic fixations where they identify with their place or dualistic situation by placing their mind in an objective and externalized phenomenological reality (allowing that to define, and hence, limit "self"). Such dualistic mental constructs are rampant in today's fragmented, selfish, greedy, and paranoid materialistic society. Since such an egoic entity becomes closed minded and sterile, a neurotic need arises to include or acknowledge the world. The error is to conclude that it is all the same and have done with it. This bypasses the rich ever-newness, which results in dullness and further isolation.

Samyoga is the fixated asmita-klesha (sense of egoic ownership or identification), which has become hardened/fixated with habitual mental confusion (avidya), which in turn obscures true vision (vidya). It is projected upon the external world as something real or true. This projection can also be understood as the obscuration of sublimated or false knowledge that attempts to substitute for the basic deprivation of the separation anxiety of "Self as a living whologram" from true self (swarupa). Without asmita klesha being prevalent, there will be no samyoga, or put another way samyoga is dependent upon the dominance of the klesha of asmita. Eliminating avidya and asmita is impossible without the concomitant demise of the mechanism that upholds hardened fixations of samyoga -- the tendency to ignore differences and/or to make distinctions.

In summary, Sri Patanjali is simply saying that at first, through negative conditioning, an egoic consciousness starts habitually identifying with being a separate "self" or an independent observer, observing what is thought of as separate dead/solid phenomena (see I.8 viparyaya). That is really an error of thought (atad-jnanam), albeit some assert that it is a necessary stage in evolution. However, according to Patanjali, that is bondage, and a very narrow way of experiencing. Rather authentic yogic practice is designed to break up limited false identifications as well as all dualistic fixations. Here we present samyoga as a solidified result of avidya and asmita kleshas. It is a dualistic result of the conditioned mind which projects an identity of a separate "self" and separate "object/phenomena". Just so, it can be any projection of self which conflates "self" with any individual object or entity or being dependent upon such. For example, the imputations of being a body, a male, female. human being, black, white, Chinese, European, rich poor, good or bad, right/wrong, partisan or provincial are to some`extent held together by a mechanism of samyoga. They are limited, and hence false, identifications which hold us back from going deeper. Prejudice, dogmatism, extreme fundamentalism, monism, intolerance, denunciation, and stereotyping are similarly related. Relating to the concept of separateness, one must discern between that and sameness. Sameness is not unity, because unity is composed of differentiated parts. For example, the number three is not composed of three, but can be represented by the sum of two and one, or by the division of nine by three, or in many other relational ways. By saying that three is three, says nothing by itself. In this way unity or yoga, being a unity of disorientated parts, is not to be confused with sameness (samyoga). In this way yoga is not dualistic. Things do not exist independently, by themselves, having an inherent separate reality of their own, but rather they appear interdependently as part of a vast and rich whole, not a bland or banal sameness where differentiation is demeaned. "Sameness" undermines and demeans the discriminative processes, thus short circuiting awareness of natural phenomena and one's place in the natural world. Concluding that "all is the same" (samyogah), is not a liberal imputation of oneness; but rather the opposite.

The corruption from this undivided primal integral state that is all inclusive of all-time and space, begins with the particular egoic delusion that reifies phenomena (objects) and a separate observer (an ego). Samyoga on a mental level shows up as the misdirected desire to unite with and remain attached to a subject/object dualistic limited viewpoint that persistently is projected upon one's perception of reality (hence clouding it). It is a compensatory substitution of the ego (self) with the seen (object) because of the primal rend from the whologram. This substitute union composed of the conflation of the observer with that which is observed is imposed in many ways; hence, it is due to asmita and avidya. This is also called false identification, sarupyam citta-vrtti -- identification with form in a general sense.

Samyoga commonly occurs when a generality is taken as an absolute, and/or when a specific "example" is interpolated as a general principle or is over-generalized. It also occurs when a general principle is imputed as being the same as one or more of its parts. For example, yoga is meditation is not a true representational statement, just as water is not the ocean. What is true is that one practice of the great body of yoga is meditation, but they are both equivalent or the same. Although water is part of the ocean, the ocean, it is not true that a drop of water is equal to or should be confused with the ocean, just as a lake or creek is not the ocean. This error of samyoga, as the confused imputation that two separate objects are the same or equivalent is due to the lack of discriminative wisdom (viveka) where the true nature of phenomena are known as relative and interdependent being profoundly mutually interconnected is a habituated conflation. Because of the lack of wisdom, man projects confusion, hence it is necessary to break up the causes of his confusion in order to see clearly (vidya) in pure vision.

A desire arises innocently, but it is too easy to make up false associations (samyoga) while disrespecting the infinite diversity that differentiated consciousness provides. In functional yoga differentiated consciousness is not judged as an oppositional force to undifferentiated universal consciousness, rather the two form an interdependent whole and are inseparable. Yet they can be distinguished as distinct processes as well (distinct yet intimately inter-connected). It is a grave injustice to short circuit this integrative process by substituting "it's all the same" in place of a true vast experience of the inseparable non-dual realization of siva/shakti. The former is merely the bland and neutral box of indifference, the error of monism. "A" does not equal "B", rather A plus B equals "C". Everything is not the same, but they are indeed interconnected revealing a vast continuity. All things and beings are not the same, rather a yogi may say that they are differentiated evolutes of a single primordial source and reflect that primordial beginningless source when understood as being co-creative interdependent differentiated parts of the whole. That whole is constituted as the union of differentiated reality and undifferentiated reality -- of relative and absolute truths together as a non-dual marriage. Those who have not realized this yogic vision (vidya) then may benefit from the following.

For example a candle and its flame are two separate things. If you blow out the flame, you still have the candle. The candle has the potential of being lit, and also many other potentials depending upon causes and conditions. Now a lit candle is a third object. That is, it is not just a candle or a flame, but a combination of the two. As a lit candle with a flame, they are inseparable in that context. Similarly, salt water is composed of salt and water. Salt is not equal to water, and water does not equal salt. Rather everything is as-it-is, in reality, not the same, yet there is an invisible universal force which unites this infinite ongoing diversity. Hence true yoga versus samyoga (false identification) depends on how we identify "self" or the observer -- "who" it is who sees, and hence the characteristics of what is being observed/seen.

Sri Patanjali defines samadhi in III.3 (swarupa-sunyam iva samadhi) as the realization of our true nature as being empty of a separate self. It is both a key and a simple sutra, but often misunderstood by those addicted to reification/conceptualization processes. Never-the-less Sri Patanjali says that samadhi is nirvikalpa (inconceivable by the intellect), yet it must be experienced as our true nature must be known. Experiencing that completely and unerringly brings about liberation (kaivalya). That is why the yogi practices -- being the sole purpose of authentic yoga sadhana. This sunyam is not a thing. It has no thingness to it. It is experienced as transconceptual, pointless, objectless, and hence beyond subject/object duality. See also the commentary in II. 6 (asmita) below. So there is absolutely no need to figure this out with the discursive mind or intellect (being essentially a nirvikalpa realization). Rather Sri Patanjali says just practice. When these non-dual experiences arise, then you will know what they are. Not to worry.

On a gross level the seer (drastir) identifies (samyogah) itself as an object in relative association with another object (drsyayoh) and/or the observer oneself is identified as an object also. This limited fixation (samyogah) is man's conditioned (karmic) folly -- a love affair with suffering which is to be avoided. The ordinary mind is in constant seduction and fascination. It is habitually brought out (externalized and objectified) into the external material world of the sense objects (the phenomenal world) which it identifies with as such thus establishing "self' in relationship to "other". That "appears" to be "real" and as we identify and define our "self" in relationship to that, we too often judge that contradictory information may pose a threat to self and/or security and thus arm ourselves against it often compulsively. That becomes an estranged, alienated, numb way of "living" which we call over-objectification. It's a mental place which intellectuals find impossible to surrender.

Such composes the limited dualistic world of an imagined/ideated independent seer (observer) and an object (phenomena) which is seen (as samyoga). As a dualistic unit, this becomes a severe limitation, preoccupation. obsession, and fascination with a separate self (ego) and a separate apparently real "thing" as a further reification -- as a fixated fascination that must be broken asunder (via viveka or asamprayoge) or released via other yoga practices such as vairagya. Samyoga is a specific case of the egoic mindset (asmita-avidya) as if the function of asmita (ego ownership) has extended itself to objects owned. Taken to the extreme it is the error that says: "I am God". That error is not the param-purusa (the true all pervading unlimited Self or universal Seer), rather it is a limited narcissistic delusion or solipsism.

So to be certain Sri Patanjali is NOT saying that purusa and prakrti (universal Self and Nature) are separate, rather the ego (the separate "I" sense) and hence the concept of an isolated object (physical or mental) is formulating an attachment complex out of asmita-klesha, which is a limited attachment which must be broken in order to embrace the peerless unlimited supreme primordial source. Again the True Self is not a separate "self" (asmita) or ego.

Patanjali says that this ego fixation (asmita) is a basic confusion that creates suffering. It consists of not being aware (ignorance) of the artificiality of the difference our mind creates between the perceiver, that which is being perceived, and how the process of perception can color our view. Here Patanjali is not just pointing out that there is a difference between the seer and the object that is being viewed (which is still an edited externalization and abstraction -- a severe limitation where we ascribe meaning to self and the universe from dualistic and fragmented means. In truth the one who perceives and that which is perceived are naturally interconnected in a vast uncontrived overall network already. Here Patanjali is addressing the profound importance of attitude, stance, and view; i.e., whether it is fixated, frozen, corrupted, and dead or is it Universal and alive. When it is frozen we are incomplete, we start to crave, suffer, and neurotic. When we live in the Heart, we are completed, artificial fixations are dropped. The latter is authentic yoga (non-dual realization), while the former is samyoga (confusion).

Union and Inseparability is Not Sameness or Equality

We have all heard monistic statements like, "love is light, love is all, God is love, life and love, we are all the same, and other monistic statements. These things may be aspects of a greater union or whole, but these aspects have qualities and differences. Multiplicity and diversity are to be honored even though they exist within an integrative context -- in relationship to the whole.

Such is the beauty of yoga (which means union). Yoga does not mean sameness or confusing things by lumping them together. Yoga rather is a an affirmative statement of interconnectedness.

There are many types of samyoga as false identification where the seer falsely and rigidly identifies with an imputed or ideated conceptual and fabricated identity. That rigidified false identification has to be eliminated (heya). That is the main purport of this sutra.

Yet as has been shown we can also learn more about this stubborn fixation of samyama as habitual false imputations upon phenomena such as over generalization taking the specific to be the whole, or by imputing the whole upon the specific. For example, samyoga as monism says that everything is the same. Taken to the extreme it is absolute monism where the self views everything as being the same or "self". That is of course extreme confusion (monism) which is both narcissistic and delusional. On the other hand, nondual wisdom through the honing of viveka, acknowledges and recognizes that the rich diversity of differentiated consciousness (Prakrti/Shakti) is wedded to the universal formless self luminous intelligent seed source (Purusa/Maheshvara) in a profound interdependent mutuality. But this wedding does not equate that purusa is the same as or equal to prakrti, or that siva is the same as shakti which would be a huge confusion. Rather they are inseparable. Together they compose a fundamentally non-dual whole or great integrity which in itself is not a separate entity or an independent thing (but is all inclusive). Such is not separate, disparate, or apart; yet it is NOT the "same". Here they are not the same, but at simultaneously united occupying the same non-solid space. This infinite multiplicity is known through the awakening of the singular eye (which unites the two eyes). It is realized when the cit and the sat are united in pure consciousness, pure beingness, and true bliss.

In the essence of creation/shakti, the self luminous formless creative essence can be found. or can be found. Siva can not be removed from shakti as siva is shakti's essential nature; yet Maheshvara (Siva) is not dependent upon shakti/creation, rather Maheshvara is stainless, formless, and non- dependent. That is the realm of the eternal adi Buddha -- the timeless unborn intrinsic awakened Mind which is the only thing that is not interdependent, but yet it would be incorrect to call this all pervading omniscient and intrinsic unborn seed source isvara a localized "thing". Samyoga as egoic fixations are the result of ignorance (avidya-klesha) and hence is a citta-vrtti (limited mind-field) held together by such associations. Human's most often lock their consciousness up in boxes through conceptual addictions (vikalpa), smrti (past mental associations), pramana (fixated beliefs), racial identification, nationalism, religious beliefs, political adherence, provincial thinking, acquired prejudice, habit, and species limited language based associations which cloud and occlude the true potential of mind.

To be sure samyoga occurs in samprajnata where dualistic (i/it) vectors of asmita and attachment are still dominant. This is not the same as asamprajnata (transcognitive and transpersonal) non-dual realization where seer (the knower), seen (that which is known), and the process of seeing (knowing) are seen within the a singular integrative context of the Great Integrity/whole.

In Pada Three we learn the advanced practice of samyama (not samyoga) which connects the objective focus of concentration (dharma) with the process of awareness itself (dhyana), which creates a samadhi (transpersonal union) between the yogi and the object of focus, but here Patanjali simply is reminding us that in meditation we should avoid the pitfall of getting sucked into the objectification process (isolation fixation) as well as the fascination process )attachment) as they are two sides of the same coin, i.e., raga and dvesa. Samyoga belongs to dualistic errors of consciousness even though it may appear as unity consciousness, it is not samadhi by any means, but moha (confusion).

Further ahead in Sadhana Pada as part of the eightfold practice (of astanga yoga) we will learn how pratyhara is a related effective practice that redirects our cit-prana from external fixations -- from getting caught up in dualistic sense experiences, and hence preventing the sadhak from becoming distracted from or forgetful of our true essential nature (swarupa). So in the beginning of practice (sadhana) it is helpful to discern fixations of false identification by utilizing viveka, withdraw our attention (cit-prana) away from these false identifications and distractions and then eventually (in advanced practice) connect as the integration which affirms, combines, and embraces the same wholistic and energetic intelligent process of universal consciousness which lies underneath at the root of the process of seeing, all and everything that is seen, and the one who sees as the Unborn spark of infinite love -- as the universal all pervading purusa.

In ordinary dualistic consciousness however, we either blur the process, are not aware of the differences and functions of the process, or artificially create distortions and false boundaries or containers which we cling to by boxing"reality" into a tidy fit. In short we have become conditioned to duality and thus have become externally fixated upon an "it" of which we attempt to conquer or escape. For example, an event may occur. the observer may react with passion if a samskara is activated, in turn activating a vasana or klesha. We may confuse the external event, object, or phenomena with our feelings (reaction) while it is really the mind in conspiracy with the samskara which has created the reaction. Thus a prude may label a sexually attractive woman as being evil because her presence has stimulated a samskara where "evil" thoughts or feelings are triggered. Thus a cause has been confused with an effect. There exist numerous daily illusions based on such ignorance of our mental processes and deeply buried samskara (both of which need to be rooted out in order for self realization to occur).

The resolution to this conflict is simple; i.e., we disrupt the karmic pattern/conditioning involved and thus reprogram the pattern, burn it up, and then offer the ashes to the underlying innate evolutionary/creative power. Thus through functional yogic activity, the yogi will evolve and manifest creatively. The yogi becomes liberated from kleshas, avidya, and samskara through pratiprasava, self awareness, viveka, and swadhyaya which leads to isvara - NOW awareness where a shift occurs from a relational dualistic fixation that defines a separate seer and a separate object (subject/object duality) into non-dual viewing from the maturation of the universal intrinsic seed source -- from the perspective of Universal Heart Consciousness --when we learn to abide in the Heart of Hearts through functional sadhana and view All Our Relations from this vantage point not as the same, but at the same time infinitely rich its infinite differentiations which is married to undifferentiated universal awareness.

Jnaneshwar says in the Jnaneswari (6-40); Oh Infinite One in your Universal form is there anything in which you do not abide? Is there any spot in which you do not dwell? I realize now that you are not different from this universe, but rather that you ARE all this universe.

So to be certain, in samyoga there is a false identification with a separate object or role identification by a separate observer. That is I/it duality. In samyoga it is attachment (asmita-raga), while as isolation or dissociation, it is asmita-dvesa). In either case it is not purusha (the true self) joining with prakriti (creation as the whole), rather this samyoga occurs inside a severely fragmented and limited dualistic imprisoned mindset. In comparison with non-dual union, where the imperishable omniscient light inside is recognized and recognized that unborn light (prakasha) in others, in namaste, a separate isolated observer and a separate isolated and independent object which is observed as illusory, untrue, and false identifications.

Here the cause (hetu) of samyoga (false identification) is transcended and eradicated (heyam) through viveka (discriminative wisdom). The identifications with the citta-vrttis are attenuated. Then true and authentic wisdom as the fruit of yogic spiritual non-dual union shines through (prakasha). The integrated undisrupted and unfragmented profound non-dual awareness where the world of seemingly disparate objects and observers had appeared to be "real" , but are now truly experienced as part of a unified whole united -- inter-connected by an omnipresent presence in All Our Relations -- in the wholistic experience where one simultaneously perceives an object as an effect of a cause and as a possible further cause in the chain of karmic events to which one is no longer attached or governed. At the same time (time out of time) the unborn seed-source awareness that has no beginning or end -- beginningless time and uncreated space abides and co=arises as recognition of eternal presence -- Now awareness persists. This is beyond any human words or power to objectify. It can neither be grasped by the individual mind, but rather exists within the innate unity where pure consciousness and pure beingness reside -- in sat-chit-ananda.

So, in dhyana our attention may attach to objects/things (samyoga) either as objects of thought or sense objects. These are very self limiting prisons of asmita (the ego oriented mind). In this case first we notice that the attention has become attached by discriminating awareness (viveka), then we release that attachment through vairãgya. This is awareness meditation. The citta-vrtti arise, the attention becomes attached, a greater awareness becomes aware of tha attachment. The yogi then releases the thought and abides in the the stillness between the cessation of the previous thought and the beginning if the next. The spaces between the end of the previous thought and the next thought becomes longer -- as one becomes used to abiding in absolute stillness. This is formless meditation (dhyana) which trains the mind in asamprajnata non-dual awareness cultivating the state where there is no separate self (asmita), no separate object to observe, but rather boundless freedom in non-dual union.

How samyoga is broken apart is discussed from here on through to II.25. Especially see II.23-25, and II.35 (asamprayoge = disentanglement). Samyoga is the sleepy state of bland sameness, blocked creative energy, and indifference which inures us to ignorance (the blockage of creative pure vision). Samyoga is broken up via viveka, which is an innate power brought forward into fruition via astanga yoga.

II. 18. prakasa-kriya-sthiti-silam bhutendriyat-makam bhogapavargartham drsyam

That which is seen (drsyam) by the activity (kriya) of the sense organs (indriya) upon the many permutations (silam) of the five elements (bhutas) when not experienced (bhoga) as solid and inert (sthiti), illumine (prakasha) our true transpersonal universal nature (atmakam) and thus serve (artha) as a self liberating (apavarga) activity (kriya).


When we perceive what had previously seemed to appear as a dead and solid object (sthiti) through the illuminated dynamic activity of the inner light of consciousness -- from the perspective of our light and energy body (prakasa) -- we are able to recognize (drsyam) phenomenon's own inherent light as well. This is light knowing light. From this self recognition (atmakam) gazing upon what previously appeared as a separate fragmented *material* (sthiti) object composed of the five elements (bhutas) --as something steady, solid, and stable (sthhiti-silam), now display a self liberating (apavarga) radiance revealing the trans-dual splendor of this inner light (prakasa) universal inborn seed potential which is changeless and imperishable. Then we know that even the sense organs (indriya) can act for the purpose (artha) of a self liberating activity of revelation and self recognition (apavarga) -- disclosing the imperishable self luminous light of intrinsic wisdom which shines forth within all beings and things -- as all our experiences (bhoga) in everyday life becomes our teacher in light, rather than the senses acting as an avenue for outward dissipation, duality, fragmentation, alienation, and corruption.


The variegated (silam) elements (bhuta) of existence are experienced (bhoga) through the senses (indriya) as having a common self nature (atmakam) while maintaining its diversity (silam), recognizing the self effulgent light (prakasha) whose purpose (artha) is to self liberate (apavargartham) by being reflected off the apparently solid (sthiti) surface (prakasa-kriya-sthiti-silam) of all things (phenomena) seen or unseen (drsyam),

Here the commonality of the inner and outer radiance (prakasha) is recognized by the process of seeing (drsyam) in a state of darshan or revelry. (prakasha) both within and in all things (bhutas). Then this inner illuminated recognition reveals a self liberatory deeper power of transcognition (in which the seer, all which is seen, and the processes of seeing) are a common synergistic activity (kriya) in which the sense organs (indriya) are aligned. That reveals an inherent all inclusive and all pervasive self luminous intrinsic power (prakasa) and common universal source, which is simultaneously experienced (bhoga) in Now awareness and thus the functional purpose is to self liberate (apavargartham) is fulfilled as the activity of light (prakasa-kriya).

Commentary: In short, the elements are fractals representing the hologram. It is inadequate when observed as fragmented, isolated, or limited phenomena, but when known as a holographic display, then the sense organs are aligned and augmented by the evolutionary momentum of the limitless unnamable source. Nature as the native evolutionary force, radiantly reflects the inherent light of universal primordial consciousness when viewed with clear lucidity. If we should be lucky enough to realize the true wholographic interactive nature of the elements of creation as intimate with primordial awareness --that WE all emanate from the same source interactively as a sacred living display of light and consciousness, then every moment is a sacred interplay devoid of samyoga or any klesha. Outside that matrix which binds all things together, all time together, and all space together, that pure luminous vision and natural vivid radiance becomes dim and displaced as we identify, isolated and externalized from this integral intimacy.

However the "normal" dualistic cognition process of a separate seer experiencing (bhoga) an apparently separate object that is seen (drsyam), is not normally instructive nor self liberating (apavarga), but rather this is normally either asmita-raga (grasping at a physical object and possessing it by the ego, or asmita-dvesa (being repulsed or averse to an external object or phenomena in general and attempting to push it away). Thus the reaching out or grasping of "external" experiences and objects within the sphere of duality is always rather unrewarding and unfulfilling, bhoga being mere temporary neurotic pleasure. That is the common (samkhya) approach toward discussing bhoga, but for the tantric who realizes the inter-connected non-dual nature of reality all things are simultaneously expressions of "S"elf in "S"elf and reveal "S"elf instantaneously and hence, in that non-dual sense, there is an inherent enjoyment in all of creation/creativity when recognized as such.

So at a level of seeing (drsyam) that is less superficial the yogi recognizes the intrinsic universal light (prakasha) within all phenomena being revealed as the true essential nature (atmakam) of the elements (bhuta) which are normally sensed by the sense organs (indriya) This allows one to reflect back upon the Self as our transpersonal true form (swarupa), in All Our Relations while preventing superficial, dysfunctional and extractive relationships based on separation to arise. The latter tends toward disparate fragmentation, dissipation, and corruption. However when the meditator rests in the sattvic equipoise, there the fascination with the elements (bhutas) as individual unrelated separate "things" cease. Here the tattvas, bhutas, gunas, prakrti and purusa are revealed in illumination as parts of an interconnected whole. Here imputations and concepts of saguna cease. At the same time the nirguna nature of formless intrinsic wisdom and light -- eternal unborn spirit is allowed to shine forth as the inherent spark of universal consciousness and being. As we will see in III.3 the true nature of mind is realized in samadhi as swarupa-sunyam. That light pervades the entire physical universe (prakrti) but is not limited to that. here the inner radiance (prakasha) within all of nature (prakrti), acts as a beacon for self liberation (apavarga) within the scope of a universal living university.

The yogi is not fascinated nor possessed with the gunas as individual separate things, but rather the inherent quality (silam) of the natural universal activity (kriya) of the universal light emanating from the essential inner nature (atmakam) which is reflected from the seemingly or apparent solidity (sthiti) of all sense objects. This occurs as spiritual practice (sadhana) in All Our Relations.

For example in dhyana (meditation), one way to experience and see the material world (the bhutas) as-it-truly-is (imbued with isvara from purusa consciousness) is to recognize the intrinsic light (prakasha) both within ourselves as an attribute (linga) of the attributeless (alinga) and formless unborn eternal universal all-pervading seed source (maheshvara, buddha-nature, or bodhi-seed). This recognition known trans conceptually aligns, orders and translates the sensory inputs as various coherent forms of the universal light within nondual context of the whole, thus revealing the underlying self liberating (apavarga) true nature (atmakam) of prakrti/purusa -- the true nature of the mind as pure vision. Rather than sensing phenomena as isolated dead matter in a fragmentary context, it is en-lightened. It is lit up and illumined as Mater (shakti), while purusa is understood as seed source (Maheshvara). In Buddhist tantric terms the meditation becomes alive as the activated light body (sambhogakaya) acts as the mediator between the eternal formless realm (dharmakaya) and the physical (nirmanakaya). Thus in effective meditation we sit in alignment with the three bodies, five koshas, chakras, and nadis trans-dimensionally and simply bathe and abide HERE. The yogi simply abides in the true nature of mind.

As we have learned in chapter one, yoga practice transforms our ordinary linear and dualistic awareness from the gross (vitarka), to the more subtle (vicara), to beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara), to nirguna (devoid of the gunas), to arupa (formless), nirvikalpa (transconceptual), nirodha (stillness), asamprajnata (non-dual) and eventually nirbija samadhi (the crown of yoga). HERE in authentic practice we experience the universal eternal imperishable light which is the intrinsic beginningless sourceless source of Universal All Knowing omnipresence is everywhere present in perfect Gnosis. Nothing external is required except authentic practice. All that is required is for us to wake up and recognize our innate true nature (svarupa).

Our experience becomes our teacher within the common trans-personal non-dualistic union as one family, Vasudeva Kutumbakam both diverse and inseparable -- interconnected -- unified but not the same. It is HERE that we have the opportunity to see behind appearances to the causal. Through functional authentic yoga practice we eventually see that all is Brahman -- that we are kin to all of creation within the non-dual context of All Our Relations. In the non-dual tantric sense then all our experiences are vehicles for our liberation (bhoga-apavarga) -- they are in this sense self liberatory when we see each moment in Now Awareness -- as an opportunity to move in harmony with the entire universe as if we were dancing with shiva (atmakam). Every move and breath thus becomes another channel to reflect that innate divine light (apara-prakasha).

Human beings must recognize that they are integral with the earth, the cosmos, the process of creation, creativity, and the intelligent evolutionary force which is behind it. Then they must interact with integrity with that Reality in a conscious manner. That way human beings acting as an integral part of that process gives to the universe a mirror like reflection of that sublime co-creative process – a conscious sense of self within that  context which is not limited by time or place.
The evolution of human consciousness thus evolves through many stages.
Only a primitive. severely limited, and elementary wake up is the recognition of a separate self apart from the whole. The more fundamental wake up is recognizing "self" as part of a very large and diverse trans-linear continuity/community where differentiated reality and undifferentiated are experienced as inseparable/interconnected.
For man to know himself, he must know where he came from. Earth is primary
Humans are derivatives of the evolutionary process. Diversity within the continuity and integrity. We are not the same, rather we are all analogues – all kin – All Our Relations! One Family Inseparable. Vasudeva Kutumbakam!

The Great Community of Existence is a communion of subjects, rather than a collection of objects.

Inherent in that fourth state
There is continual reawakening
Continual evolutionary interaction
Co-creation, interconnected communication

Birth, death, and rebirth – evolutionary change expressed in evolutionary action.
Pulsation and Awareness
Fission and fusion

Humans are integral with the earth
how can that be not so,
The glorification of the human has become the desolation of the earth
The desolation of the earth has become the desolation of the human.

See II.23-24 for more on samyoga

II. 19. visesavisesa-lingamatralingani guna-parvani

Relative and transitory phenomenon (gunas) can be further broken down, classified, distinguished, differentiated, or compared (parvani) as being discrete, concrete, separate, and diverse (visesa) or on the other hand as being undiverse, indistinct, or undifferentiated (avisesa), as well as being given symbolic attributes associated with a substantial form (lingamatra), or very subtle and without being assigned attributes (alinga) or qualitative distinctions.

Commentary: There is no limit in the way that the intellect can classify nature's endless diversity (saguna) as discrete entities. This reductionist attempt to delimit formless and attributeless spirit (alinga) can be a full time task of naming, labeling, and classifying, as the ego attempts the arrogation of reification. but the yogi is not interested in that kind of intellectualization processes or classification systems which is more properly the venue of the physical sciences, engineering, philosophy, and/or academia. Phenomena is ultimately indefinable (alinga) and empty by itself, yet it can act to reveal the alinga intrinsic light which pervades the entire universe. WHen a yogi speaks about ignorance, it is NOT an ignorance of external facts or delineated knowledge, but rather ignorance of Self -- of the true nature of one's own mind.

Thus this comparative breakdown and analysis is inferior to viveka if it does not reveal the overall integrity of all of creation. It is an endless and futile activity ending up in dissolution and fragmentation, rather than integration. Here first the yogi affirms the reality of the great integrity -- of All Our Relations. where differentiated reality is known as it truly is (in its true form) only when bias and vrtti are all dispelled -- within the revelation of the unity of differentiated and undifferentiated consciousness -- one defining the other. Phenomena thus is not taken out of that context but are analyzed as to their mutual causality in a holographic manner. That is the yogis way as taught in Pada III and IV.

Instead of having conditions, the phenomenal world, "things" and events define who we are in terms of identity, ego, status, external power, clothes, money, or possessions, do not be possessed or so imprisoned. Instead of boxing "things" or "reality" into narrow views, tables, or containers the accomplished yogi never loses sight of the integrative whole while perceiving events in their interactive phases of of organic mutuality. It is this interaction which when revealed fully through experiential practices, displays the self luminosity (prakasa) the sublime and all fulfilling great completion of the integrative whole.

The history of mankind has shown that human beings throughout the ages have devised myriad ways to classify, differentiate, categorize, and ascribe meaning to differentiate manifest temporal reality (the gunas) in an attempt to control the universe and nature, but such attempts have always been biased and colored by the limited views and spins, not only imposed by time and place, but imposed by the limitations of the intellect (buddhi) through the the cognitive and/or conceptual processes. However the way to approach "Reality" is to gain a universal unbiased perspective even beyond anthropomorphism itself -- even beyond earthling identifications, beyond asmita, and separate self, itself. That reality/realization is where the authentic yogi is focused upon onepointedly. Unless one has spiritual presence to view "reality" from the perspective of the eternal universal omniscient principle (which is alinga), then reality-as-it-is will prove to be elusive. The true yogi not interested in mere symbolic representations, attributes (linga), and apparitions, seeks liberation not through hollow an superficial methods, and thus is not satisfied, nor caught up, nor distracted in the myriad permutations and manifestations of the gunas, rather viewing such as being ever changing fiery temporal characteristic appearances of emanating from the intrinsic undifferentiated seed source. The yogi penetrates beyond even the most subtle to the boundless mind -- connecting self with source and source with self, tha yogi knows her true self (swarupa) in the transpersonal space of the eternal now. The yogi has become initiated into the universal timeless and eternal tradition of the attributeless "Self" (purusa as isvara) which is all pervading, universal, omniscient, unchanging and resides in all.

So yes, the intellect (buddhi) can experience endless diversions and activities, but the yogi in meditation rests free from such turmoil. The yogi abides in nirvikalpa, free from anumana. fee from associations with words and thoughts free from citta-vrtti. Having a calm and empty mind, he enters the highest and most complete samadhi whose characteristic is the highest bliss. Here union is Sat-Cit-Ananda, as the union of pure subject being, pure and complete objective consciousness - pure unconditional natural bliss) .

See also commentary to Sutra I.19, I.26, and I.45.

II. 20. drasta drsimatrah suddho 'pi pratyaya-nupasyah

The cognizer (the one who sees -- drasta) is empowered by a pure, primal, and more fundamental underlying power of seeing (drsi) that is capable of recognizing the process of cognition itself once the cognition process is recognized and turned back into itself (pratyaya-anupasyah) -- once the eyes of the seer is purified and opened (suddho) so that the true seer is recognized as part of the process of seeing. The power of seeing is thus spontaneously recognized everywhere as omnipresent.

Commentary: So what is it that you see when you look out from your eyes? What happens to you when you sit in meditation? Who is it who is seeing? Here Patanjali is disclosing the seer who observes the thinking process itself - the witness who witnesses the mentation process -- the awareness underneath the machinations of the citta-vrtti, the awareness of the awareness principle (cit).When that seer is known and recognized, then what is seen is seen truly and clearly as-it-is. This is the first step in the process of purifying the obscurations of the mindfield.

Here the observer inquires and observes in what direction the cit-prana moves and how the yogi shifts it so that sattva is realized. In yoga we are looking to go beyond fixations upon coarseness (nirvitarka), fragmented form (arupa), mere characteristics (nirguna), beyond even the most subtle (nirvicara) -- to the profound what-is. Then we can see the true nature of phenomena as-it-truly-is. This is a direct perception that is not dependent upon the five senses, rather now the senses are known to be guided by this unitive wisdom. This is not the ordinary conceptual mind where cognition is based on dualistic assumptions.

One could say that such a seer now perceives from the sixth or seventh sense -- a way of knowing (gnosis) that is not limited by time and space. Others say that this is realized when the kundalini (evolutionary creative energy) has become activated by being aligned with the sushumna and has activated the hridayam (the heart of hearts). From that core-center our view is clear and boundless-- splendorous and majestic -- expanded ad infinitum in all directions and dimensions -- transcendent of linear space and time -- it is devoid of qualification (nirguna).

In meditation (dhyana) we apply awareness to our attention or mind which is usually first observed as moving (citta-vrtti). We find that we are able to recognize what we are recognizing -- where the awareness has become attached and.or distracted (isolated) from. We recognize the contents of the mind (which is called pratyaya) and then we can release our grasp or aversion to them. This is basic awareness meditation utilizing basic viveka (discriminating awareness) and vairagya processes. But as we exercise this awareness of awareness, we start to recognize the nature of its seed source. We start to get interested in the seed source as we release our awareness of our previous fascination upon "objects" as an observer. We start observing not just the observation process, but the observer of the observer -- the param-purusha. Our awareness is thus turned back upon its source, first as awareness of awareness, and then pure now awareness, This is the process of waking up -- the activation of the bodhimind which dhyana practice affords the yogi.

When who we really are in our true form (swarupa) starts to become disclosed in authentic yoga practice, we see that what we previously thought of as being the individual mind, is merely a dim reflection of that great all encompassing universal mind which encompasses all things. In fact nothing exists separate from THAT. The intelligent light of consciousness shines through the eyes of the beholder, but how many can turn back to see this light of consciousness. Those who have done so have used conscious awareness to reveal its Source and then when they see "the so called world" they see all as the light of God everywhere as All Our Relations. For such the doors of perception have become cleansed and transformed. So within, also without when experienced through the heart.

Jnanadeva in the "Jnaneswari" (6-38) speaking of the Supreme Self says: "You are the source of both prakriti and purusha and also beyond both. You are the eternal Spirit and there is no one prior to you. You are the very spring and support of life and in you alone are contained the eternal knowledge of the three times and manifest in unlimited form."

Here Jnaneshwar reveals what Patanjali will reveal later that Purusa and Prakrti are in Reality, One, but not the same. See III.35, III. 49 and Pada 4 for much more on this profound uncontrived unity.

Similarly see also Sutra I.41

Swami Venkatesananda says in his translation of II.20:

The truth concerning the seer (experiencer) is that there is only the ever-pure act of seeing (experiencing). Yet, there arises a polarization on account of which a concept (which then becomes the subject or the experiencer) seems to experience (the reaction of the senses to the externalized world – all such externalization being the result of the polarization and the consequent apparent movement in the subject). An apparently independent entity called experience therefore becomes the object.

Swami Venkatesananda's Commentary: Having thus explained the nature of the object, Patanjali goes on to what I feel is probably at the very heart of the Yoga Sutras – the question, “Who is the drastta,’ the see-er, in this?” The object was very clear and so we took that first. The second thing that seems to be extremely clear and evident is ‘I see you’. The next question is “Who is the ‘I’ that sees you?”

“Drasta drsimatrah” – it is the seeing or experiencing alone that is. That experiencing itself, by wishing to become aware of its own experience, creates a polarity. There are two beautiful expressions in the Yoga Vasistha which occur again and again: “What is cosmic consciousness, what is God and whit is anything?” and “Between this and that is consciousness, between that and this is the experiencing or experience.” In that pure experiencing there is neither polarization nor division. The eyes see one vision, one universe,; that sight is pure, with no division in it.

If sight is realized to be the sole seer of all sight, in that sight there is no evil, it is absolutely pure – suddho ‘pi. All experiences – as pure experiencing – are pure, unpolluted, untainted. The seer is pure, the action is pure, the sensory action is absolutely pure. So the see-er is pure sight or the act of seeing without a subject-object division, and therefore without any motivation. Therefore in pure experiencing there is neither pain nor pleasure, sin nor virtue. Drasta drsimatra, sight or seeing itself is the only truth.

All experience is pure experiencing in its intensity. Naturally, there is no division between the experiencer as the subject and the experience as the object. One can only think of one universal experience as an example – sleep. One who is in deep sleep does not say “I am asleep,” nor does he even know, think or feel, “I am sleeping.” There is a total homogeneous pure experience. The experiencer is inextricably and essentially non-different from this pure experiencing. (Sleep is brought in merely as an illustration of the existence of such pure experience, not to suggest that sleep is therefore a feature of enlightenment). In sleep all your good and bad qualities, wonderful quality and super-wonderful qualities are also lying asleep, and when they wake up there is a lot of trouble!

What you call the seer is nothing but the action or event of seeing. Seeing happens. Seeing is there, awareness is there. In meditation, pure awareness alone is there. When the eyes are open and see something, only seeing is there. Speaking happens – it is not I speak to you. Hearing happens – not I hear you. It is only pain – pain as something without a sword, without a concept, and without a description. It is not called pain because you are not looking for pleasure.

In this way everything can happen without creating any problem in life. Such a life is a supreme blessing. All the virtues that are described in the scriptures are naturally formed in that person. But the virtues do not have a goal, a motivation.: he's not kind ‘because he is going to heaven’.

Such a life is free from motivation and therefore free from despair, fear and hope. When you have no goal, you have destination. All roads you take are right.

From "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Commentary", by Swami Venkatesananda.

II. 21. tad-artha eva drsyaya-atma

Though in Reality the "apparent" separate existence of subject and object is merely the result of the observer's false identification with fragmentary existence. In "Reality" the true purpose (artha) of that which is seen (drsyaya) exists for the revelation of the universal all pervading "Self" -- self realization (drsyaya-atma) through self awareness.

Commentary: Albert Einstein said:

"A human being is part of the whole called by us 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest... This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."

This is the natural continuation of the previous sutra. This is the way we destroy samyoga (false identification based on conditioned consciousness). All the glue that binds the mind to habitual patterns of entanglement, all our fears and banal desires eventually must be surrendered. So we can inquire, what is it that we see when you look out from the Heart -- centered in our core energy in sacred indigenous space? Is it All Our Relations? When we see from witness consciousness (purusa) in pure awareness the conditioned egoic self dissolves. Everything and being is revealed as parts of that omnipresent whole as ever-presence.

Also see Sutra I.41 and II.17 commentary (on samyoga).

When the seer attributes an isolated independent or separate true existence to "self' and to phenomena, this is the estranged dualistic state of alienation. Buddhists call that the error of eternalism (ascribing permanence to some thing as an independent entity which in reality is interdependent, changing, and morphing at each moment. When our eyes open it is revealed that what really is happening is an organic evolutionary magical flow -- a radiant display occurring throughout creation where attachment or aversion to any independent "thing" as well as to any independent "object" is impossible. That is non-dual realization afforded to the yogi via practice such as dhyana. One learns to rest/abide in this all pervading self luminous non-dual holographic Great Integrity as one's true nature (swarupa) where the all pervading formless and empty purusa penetrates all of prakrti completely and is thus revealed to the yogi through her myriad displays. Other wise what dualists describe as purusa consciousness as an isolation from prakrti is merely dvesa and alienation -- am alien nation, where a separate "self' is ascribed to "self" as the observer and a separate independent reality is falsely ascribed to isolated phenomena. That is not a universal omniscient consciousness but rather a lack of conscious awareness. Here the yogis describe an integrated state where undifferentiated consciousness and differentiated consciousness are not at odds, but integrated into a larger whole, the latter temporarily housing the former, giving it form and revealing it in non-dual realization, rather than concealing it.

II. 22. krtartham prati nastam apy anastam tad-anya-sadharanatvat

This fragmentary state although completely destroyed (nasta) as such by the seer, who has realized integration (krtartham), will none-the-less appear to others as "real" (anastam) because of sharing a commonality (sadharanatvat) with those whose consciousness lacks insight, and hence, are dominated by conventional wisdom. This common conventional reality composed of common constituent parts are common to both views [hence a common ground for communication is facilitated].

Commentary: The yogi goes beyond consensus or conventional reality. Yet, this awareness is, at the same time, all inclusive in that it includes relative phenomena as a mutually interdependent and ever changing movement. Pure consciousness is not dependent upon the phenomena itself, which is ever changing, but at the same time can not know itself without form of some sort.

Hence a common ground for everyone to communicate is nature, albeit our understanding of it may vary widely. The yogi's realization takes place in the mind, but yet that universal mind which is realized is all pervasive (it is no longer a personal mind (manas or buddhi) but transpersonal and non-dual..

The same "objects" exist as-they-are or appear not to exist, in both views; i.e., whether abides in samadhi which is non-dual integration or ordinary fragmented existence blinded in avidya, which is based on I/it separateness/dualism. Phenomena as-it-truly-is (interdependent) doesn't change according to Patanjali, rather it is known/seen differently. The territory remains the same, but the view changes. Reality is now revealed where before it was obstructed. Now territory and view coincide. That's true for the yogi, but for the ordinary person the world (or reality) is as it was, unchanged. Hence a distinction is made that for a fully realized yogi, all suffering and delusion has been removed, but that does not hold true for the reality of the non-realized yogi. Hence in that sense suffering and delusion still exist for others until they too awaken.

In non-dual realization the world of cause and effect has no pull or reality for them, but for others what appears illusory to the awakened continues to appear real for those lost in duality of a separate "I" and a separate "it".

In the latter state the objects are perceived as separate, but in the integrated state these are not perceived as separate objects, but are known in a deep and penetrating universal, and relative way, both. This is the realization of the interdependence of all created things (a deep realization) seeing how phenomena and evolution is all connected all the way back to source-- to . beginningless time, yet at the same time seeing that source here and now revealed in and by creation as part of that integrated whole. Hence in this integrated view relative phenomena reveals the ultimate/eternal, while previously it hid/obscured it. The fault was not in phenomena (existence) but in our way of ignorantly viewing "it" in fragmented seeing.

Although the world is on fire, at the same time the material (relative world) does not by itself change according to how we perceive it, rather it remains the same independent of our view, except that our consciousness (way of seeing is altered). Thus the only thing that changes is the vantage point of the viewer and in that sense then only, does the entire world change (as the viewer is part of the whole). In a similar but *different* thread of thought (and here I am now not specifically addressing this sutra or Patanjali but as an aside) when we change our thoughts, a wave is generated on the planet and all of humanity to an extent, just as we are a wave in that great ocean of humanity, all of humanity changes also.

So II.22 is not a crucial sutra when compared to the  importance of II.21 and II.23.  It is generally a reference to some who mistakenly believe that what is real and true is all made up by the mind only -- from the side of one's own mind and that all else is an illusion. That is the position of some “mind only schools” lost in asmita who inarticulately have stated that since “I am enlightened and beyond suffering, then there is no suffering in the world for me, then there is no suffering in the world (for others). Suffering no longer exists. In short, it is an egocentric imputation of samyoga which states that the entire world, and all who are inside it, is an illusion or doesn't exist so therefore suffering doesn't exist. This delusional thinking is actually not so uncommon in egocentric people who believe that "things" depend on our own personal truth and there is no validity to any objective truth or universal reality. Of course that view is entirely nihilistic and cynical as it is based on separation (ego/observer apart from, but part of, the whole process). That is how human beings trick themselves out of being part of evolution and estranged from primordial awareness and wisdom.

Despite how absurd that imputation/conception is, many people believe it. It is their way to escape suffering, pain, trauma - " the world". This samyoga is what Patanjali is addressing, such is the error of absolutism; i.e., of taking what is a personal experience that appears to be true on the surface or true in a specific conditional instance, and then erroneously extending it to an absolute/universal situation (as an absolutism). Again that is the confusion of samyoga, where the small self projects and imputes its image born from limitation upon the screen of life, rather than allowing the true nature of mind (swarupa) be projected in as a simultaneous synchronicity coming from inner/outer alignment and congruency. Most obviously Patanjali is stating that this is another imputation of asmita-raga or samyoga ( a false identification), rather a delusion and error to avoid. He is not saying that non-dual universal absolute truth does not exist in swarupa, but rather what is on an individual's projector screen that is specific and is not the absolute and is not true for others while not denying that such a truth is actually believed to be real by the small mind/ego. Even what is on an enlightened being's mind is not necessarily on "other" sentient being's minds until they too awake up (albeit that would be nice). Although all of us have the capability of influencing "other beings" positively, we are not able to be very effective unless we hook up with Infinite Mind -- residing in Infinite/Universal non-dual mind, then we can really share the love especially with others who have also reside there and speak the language -- who have opened up their conscious connections to that universal space, thus having realized to a greater extent their innermost evolutionary seed potential.

As an aside again (and this is not from Patanjali but rather an offshoot) we can agree that to a small degree the rest of the “world" *does* change when some one wakes up (say the Buddha), in so far that they are also participating in the world and the world doe bear witness. So a wave is also formed on the planet (big or small), but it is usually imperceptible. All sentient beings don’t automatically wake up or take on the same visage of the Buddha (at least there is no precedence for that).

Such "things" can only be known from the transpersonal, transconceptual, and transcognitive side -- from non-dual realization/integration. The world of so called things or "objects" is in constant flux – it is constantly changing, but it doers’t normally change very much when one person wakes up. So if we start to entertain the possibility of a mass awakening when everyone woke up at the same time -- all at once, then wow... but that’s not the discussion here in II.22. It however can be another very large subject, but is only tangentially relevant to II.22. I think it was Buddha who said, "first wake up and then you can help others to wake up"? It is this possibility which can be explored more.

To clarify, we can view "phenomena", sense objects, or "things" as temporal, as ever changing, on fire, morphing, as an action of evolution, creation, or nature. We can conclude that this is prakrti or the activity of prakrti's evolutes (the gunas). But the point is that such is in flux, not permanent or eternal -- not solid or substantial, rather it is insubstantial and unreliable unless we see it-as-it-is (from swarupa) as being animated by an underlying intelligent energy field -- under the guidance of an all pervading eternal intrinsic seed source wisdom which is indeed the real deal which underlies prakrti when we reside in clear vision seeing "things" as it is. holographically.That is how we are going to wake up, by the way, in the hologram all together. That is where WE already are, but we haven't made the connections fully. Ignorance due to false identification (samyoga) and ego is holding us imprisoned, but we are breaking free. That is the revolution of the evolutionary mind turning.

In meditation we practice to establish and strengthen our connection to this great Integrity -- Infinite Mind and its well springs of inspiration. Here we encounter and experience this unity consciousness whose eternal unblemished source is unchanging, and which after contact is made, we can then better extend in All Our Relations. But in the disparity of ordinary dualistic "ego" based experiences (based on separate self), this non-dual "reality" may not be reflected or reinforced normally by our neighbors, peers, social institutions, or associates, rather it often remains submerged and hidden. The general mass consciousness and energy of conventional "reality" within any given society will most often amplify their own self image that is placed in the projector and is reflected on the projected screen by the pure light of undifferentiated awareness. That projection thus can be from the small self (ego) projecting collective guilt, fears, kleshas. pain, and vrttis -- prejudices, bias, spins, provincialism, vanity, pride, ignorance, hatreds, nationalism, racism, religionism, and sorrow, which tend to subjugate and suffocate those with weak minds, enfeebled intention, low aspiration, poor in enthusiasm and spiritual zeal, and disempowered inner confidence or faith in their essential nature; or it can liberate, inspire, bring people together in awareness, functional joyful creativity, harmony, peace, and healing love when the image in the projector is changed as pure swarupa -- (swarupa-sunyam).

The practitioner who has achieved inner strength and connection -- the wise, will not be drawn in to false identifications of asmita-raga or asmita-dvesa (samyoga), instead being able to wed firmly with their intrinsic core/heart "transpersonal "self" and being guided by that, while recognizing the wealth of forces that are available in the moment. Wise beings having made this connection open and stable are hence wisely able to utilize past past positive experiences and karma to one's own spiritual advantage and for the weal of all beings, i.e., to empower clarity, self realization, liberation, ahimsa, compassion, and love. This is a gradual process of waking up -- of harmonizing, alignment, balance, and union. The wise balances the cit-prana in All Our Relations so that All Our Relations bring us more deeply into love -- love begets love. Transpersonal non-dual wisdom self liberates spontaneously.

Compare this with the very similar sutra at IV.16. Please also see Sutra II.54 for a discussion of asamprayoge which is using pratyhara as the decoupling means from samyoga.

II. 23. sva-svami-saktyoh svarupa-upalabdhi-hetuh samyogah

Samyoga (false identification) is the result attributing self ownership (sva-svami) to the ability (saktyoh) to recognize (upalabdhi) the cause (hetu) of our own true nature (swarupa). Instead of attributing this power to the universal purusa which resides in all beings and things, the egoic prideful delusional powers attributes it to a separate individual self (asmita) in the ego's vain attempt to own or possess it.

samyoga: A conflation, equivocation, and/or confusion of an imputed separate self with the object of its confusion. The addiction of an egoic fixation or entanglement of identification in general, hence a false identification. This includes the gooey mechanisms of self-cherishing, narcissism, and ego-centricity which entangle the ego in its samsaric prison (citta-vrtta). A false identification, delusion, or corrupt conjoining of one thing as another thing by the mind. A specific kind of citta-vrtti where a self created bondage to subject/object duality occurs. The confusion of sameness where one thing is equivocated as being the same as something else, rather than compared in terms of its wholistic mutuality (in terms of the whole). It is the error of over-generalization taking the specific phenomena or event to be the whole, or extrapolating the whole to be the same as the specific such as in stereotyping, monism, etc. The classical statement, "it is all the same" is typical of the predicament of samyoga, where there is failure to recognize differentiated reality. It is the honing of viveka that reveals the undifferentiated love-wisdom inherent in All Our Relations. Through heightened viveka this light shines forth as an ever-present magical display in the interconnected life of a realized yogi. When resistance to change appears in our practice, it is most often the result of samyoga. The remedy is to apply viveka more skillfully.

sva (swa): self; one's own

svami (Swami): master, owner.

saktyoh: power

svarupa (swarupa): true nature of self; literally abiding in its own true form.

upalabdhi: to recognize, find, to obtain, hence apprehension or recognition.

hetu: cause of.

samyogah: A conflation or equivocation. A limited self identification with an object. The state and/or mechanism of narcissistic false identification where delusion and addictive entanglements hold us back in old body/mind patterns. Bondage to subject/object duality; confusion of an imputed separate self with the object of its confusion. A false identification or conjoining of one thing as another thing by the mind. The confusion of sameness where one thing is equivocated as being the same as something else, rather than compared in terms of its wholistic mutuality (in terms of the whole). It is an over-generalization where a blurring of the difference between two things or objects by marginalizing one or both. It can also be the similar error of over-generalization which takes the specific phenomena or event to be the whole, or extrapolating the whole to be the same as the specific such as in stereotyping, monism, etc. Samyoga is very limited and daze-like state where the ego desperately tries to hold on to a self created order, through occupying itself in a specific type of citta-vrtti where diversity is denied, avoided, or ignored. An avoidance of and/or failure to recognize the inseparability of differentiated and undifferentiated reality, where ever-newness reflects the living love of ever-presence -- where ever-newness is the unbroken and continuous expression of ever-presence.

Commentary: Please see Sutra II.17-18 and II.35 (asamprayoge as disentanglement).

Samyoga is a misappropriation or co-option of the ego sense (asmita-klesha) which obscures our own true nature and power. It is thus a powerful perversion/corruptive force which astanga yoga is designed to disrupt, break apart, and destroy. Samyoga is the state of conditioned fixation of asmita-klesha where the egoic sense of ownership becomes stuck in a static and chromic projections of I/it (subject object) duality. Here the mindset has become severely boxed in by narcissistic processes of self centeredness, self involvement, and egocentricity so that the mind and realm of beingness has become fixated, self limited and closed minded. Eventually, through effective practice, a yogi realizes that narcissism, as obsessive self-love or self-cherishing, is a self cheat. As an attachment to one's prideful egoic delusional selfhood, one loses the entire universe. As a false egoic identity, it is based on separation and limitation. Narcissism, which may in its extreme, propound that we are all the same, also can lead to xenophobia.

This sutra hence`addresses the ordinary mind's false fixation (samyoga) within a fragmented and corrupt dualistic assumption which assumes the existence of a separate self and separate objects (phenomena), reinforces a state of irreconcilable estrangement and alienation between the component parts of the whole and a a separate owner who apprehends the object which is stringently adhered to, Then realization is resisted because such a tenacious belief prevents the recognition of the true non-dual nature of the object as-it-is, as part of an integrative whole. Samyoga being based on the false assumption of dualistic thinking, the "self" is defined in a state of bondage and uncertainty dependent upon temporal existence. That creates a bondage to limited identifications (separateness and estrangement), fear, and aloneness. It is the failure of discernment (viveka) which is called samyoga.

In order to reverse that mental tendency then, when one recognizes (upalabdhi) within the transpersonal non-dual context where the operations (saktyoh) of consciousness is directed through communion with the universal all pervading realization as its unitive cause (hetu) behind what was formerly "imagined" to be two apparently separate activities (a seer and the seen), then the true nature of self (swarupa) is revealed through the underlying power of shakti.. Then "who" perceives "what" becomes clarified in the self clarifying intelligent power of the seeing process itself. The distinction of the true owner (sva-svami) as comprehender and our true self nature (svarupa-upalabdhi) as the object apprehended become viewed as the sacred non-dual activity of the union of shakti and siva -- of prakrti and purusa -- which by itself bestows the power of self mastery (sva-svami-saktyoh) which self liberates.

In fact the universe is alive with consciousness. That consciousness is within ourselves and within all beings and things, yet it appears to the ordinary dualistic mind that it is their own personal limited self awareness which bestows meaning. Such a limited way of seeing is delusional. That exists because alienated life is governed by the severe limitations imposed by dualistic thought through past conditioning. We mistakenly become fixated upon an external or internal object of perception and define ourself as the separate object that is perceiving that object. Thus we become locked into a limited, frozen, dualistic, and materialistic world of the senses through false identification (sam yoga based on duality). This fixation (samyoga) is part and parcel of the false identification of asmita. However our true nature (swarupa) is truly rich, unbounded, and unlimited by such limited projections of identity (and hence things)..

Thus a valid yoga practice is to consistently disengage and interrupt the old self limiting fixation processes and habits belonging to avidya (ignorance) and asmita (the ownership self or asmita). Then when that tendency is eliminated we find the universal spirit as our true natural Self (swarupa) at all times -- in All Our Relations. This is reality as the unity of Purusa and Prakrti. As we let go of our false fixations (samyoga) as they come up, then viveka, vairagya, isvara pranidhana, tapas, swadhyaya, all occur simultaneously and spontaneously as one practice --as a result (sometimes called grace). Vision (vidya) then becomes more constant while avidya is attenuated in that special place when the seer is able to know the cause (hetu) of seeing. That is masterful (swami). Instead of identifying within the confines of a subject/object duality (a separate self seeing an object) in limited union (samyoga), we recognize the unbounded union of the True Self (Purusa) and Prakrti (as united with Purusha) as our own true self nature (swarupa). When we view the world from the Heart (Hridayam), then all is beauty -- open self luminous all pervading space (transpersonal sacred grace if you will) -- but no words will suffice. This sutra comes closest than any other (except for the sutras on isvara pranidhana and brahmacarya) as an affirmation of transpersonal boundless grace. This primordial transpersonal consciousness which is the true nature of our own mind, does not come from ego ownership It can not be owned, grasped, or known by the ego nor by any separate/independent self.

True yogic power or self empowerment (sva-svami-saktyoh) results by the mastery (swami) of resolving the apparent polarities and dualities of everyday life as-it-is (swa) into its causal (hetu) true self nature (swarupa) by recognizing the Eternal Cause, Source, and Origin of All Intelligence including the intelligent power (saktyoh) behind cognition in all our everyday relationships and experiences -- in All Our Relations. Just as the spark resides in the raging fire, it is often obliterated by the superficiality in specificity or isolation of the appearance of the fire. But if we see the fire as it is, then such superficial specifics vanish. Resting in THAT unity consciousness which is devoid of the illusion of the dualistic and contrived separation of the seer, the seen, and the cause of the process of seeing is brought about by synchronization with our true core essential nature recognizing that the one who comprehends and the object that is apprehended belong to the Universal university where Self is beholding and revealing Self simultaneously. This non-dual world is where the lila of siva/shakti plays.

HERE our experience and our perception of our experience become synchronized, empowered, and enlivened -- HERE there is no longer friction between experiential or subject "reality' and the way the mind interprets events rather both are united in the unitive state of authentic yoga. This is both uplifting and empowering.

It is a truism that when we reside inside our transpersonal; non-dual universal core/heart energy the "vicissitudes of life" do not bother us, but when we are "out of synch" then even a seemingly small trifle may cause upset, pain, and anxiety. Although many people have experienced this, few know how to reliably get back into synch -- into the flow. Fewer still are those who can continuously reside in the deepest courses of creative flow -- in nirbija samadhi empowered by the perfect eternal embrace of siva/shakti.

Ultimately, nirbija samadhi is the remedy; however, at the stage where avidya clouds basic awareness, the sharpening of viveka (the sword of discriminating wisdom), which is the prescription of Patanjali as the Jungle doctor.

See also Sutra I.41 and II.17

II. 24 tasya hetur avidya

The fundamental cause (hetur) of that [the conflation of samyoga] is ignorance (avidya).

Commentary: Ignorance as the prime klesha is said to be the cause of duhkha (dissatisfaction or misery). Klesha, karma, citta-vrtti are causes while duhkha is a result. So one naturally asks what is the cause of ignorance. The question can not be answered without asking the more primary question, what is ignorance if not the lack o recognition (the absence of vidya or pure vision). So what is pure vision (vidya) and how can it be realized is then the next necessary inquiry. Along these same lines see II.17-18.

To be certain, in yoga, by ignorance, we do not mean lack of knowledge in the common Western sense of lacking book knowledge or the accumulation or gathering of facts, more or less. Rather, avidya (ignorance) is the lack of spiritual knowledge or pure vision. It is precisely intellectual and conceptual logic, knowledge as facts, and beliefs which constitute the citta-vrtta which Patanjali requires that we surrender to the altar of spiritual transcognitive and self-less knowledge (vidya). See Sutras I.-5-12). Attachment to the former type of knowledge thus is a severe handicap or obscuration. It is a constituent of the cause of avidya and samyoga.

In Buddhism, this is the called the four noble truths, where samsaric conditions which causes suffering or duhkha are recognized as being associated with kleshas, the primary one being ignorance (avidya). Without this recognition of the kleshas and their results, there can not be progress. Hence this is the first "wake up" by a yogi on the path to liberation. Hence it is called a noble truth. Then the aspiring yogi desiring liberation recognizes the causes of afflictions (kleshas) how they come and go (vrtti) and enters the path of waking up. The practice most frequently offered being dhyana, meditation. Finally through practice, one wakes up, free from past karma, liberated from personal suffering (kaivalya or nirvana), one works for the liberation of all beings as one's transpersonal non-dual celebratory awakening and liberation.

Eckhart Tolle has said:

"What really matters is not what function you fulfill in this world, but whether you identify with your function to such an extent that it takes you over and becomes a role that you play. When you play roles you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role". Common roles people play include working woman, stay-at-home mom, macho male, female seductress, nonconformist artist, cultured intellectual, world traveler, etc. You also assign roles to others and then treat them accordingly. (How you speak to the janitor may be different from how you speak to the chairman of the company.) What roles do you play at work, home, or in the world? List some of them here. What roles do you assign to others? List them, too. . . see if you can create a space of awareness between you and the roles you most identify with."

When we define "self" or "the seer" in terms of "the seen", then we are victims of subject/object duality delimiting a separate observer as self who does the seeing. That indeed is a limited and biased way of perceiving where the fluctuating patterns of the citta-vrtti define "self" and other. That is samyoga, granted it appears to the observer that they are separate from the observed, in fact it is the observed which defines and imprisons that observer.

Humans have created institutions of learning, religion, culture, or as some have said. institutions of ignorance, destruction, and violence depending. Institutionalized ignorance which is insidious, is passed on as transgenerational violence to the vulnerable child at a very early age while the child has not yet developed word or conceptual skills. Thus words or concepts rarely can be used to access these samskaric memories. The young child, seeking security, approval, acceptance, and love more often than not is forced to accept and obey such early neuro-psycho-physiological programming. It becomes absorbed unconsciously as "self". As such it is a samyoga, an artificially contrived, a limited program, and imprisoned identity that filters and colors "reality" unless the program is shut down. Instead of a blank screen after the artificial program is shut down, a natural and glorious process expands to infinity naturally and effortlessly.

Myriads of Perversions, Psychopathies, and False Identifications

The list of man's myriad ways that he has become fragmented and corrupted from his true self are endless. All can not be itemized, however all share the commonality of a split of conscious recognition and respect from the innate evolutionary power (shakti/shiva). Psychoanalysis is excellent in delimiting these aberrations. We. will look at Erich Fromm's observation of programming and role playing in early childhood which molds the personality (ego) in later life. It should not be ignored.

Writing about Erich Fromm, C. George Boeree, is quoted:

"I should add here that freedom is in fact a complex idea, and that Fromm is talking about "true" personal freedom, rather than just political freedom (often called liberty):  Most of us, whether they are free or not, tend to like the idea of political freedom, because it means that we can do what we want.  A good example is the sexual sadist (or masochist) who has a psychological problem that drives his behavior.  He is not free in the personal sense, but he will welcome the politically free society that says that what consenting adults do among themselves is not the state's business!  Another example involves most of us today:  We may well fight for freedom (of the political sort), and yet when we have it, we tend to be conformist and often rather irresponsible.  We have the vote, but we fail to use it!  Fromm is very much for political freedom -- but he is especially eager that we make use of that freedom and take the responsibility that goes with it.


Which of the escapes from freedom you tend to use has a great deal to do with what kind of family you grew up in. Fromm outlines two kinds of unproductive families.

1. Symbiotic families. Symbiosis is the relationship two organisms have who cannot live without each other. In a symbiotic family, some members of the family are "swallowed up" by other members, so that they do not fully develop personalities of their own. The more obvious example is the case where the parent "swallows" the child, so that the child's personality is merely a reflection of the parent's wishes. In many traditional societies, this is the case with many children, especially girls.

The other example is the case where the child "swallows" the parent. In this case, the child dominates or manipulates the parent, who exists essentially to serve the child. If this sounds odd, let me assure you it is common, especially in traditional societies, especially in the relationship between a boy and his mother. Within the context of the particular culture, it is even necessary: How else does a boy learn the art of authority he will need to survive as an adult?

In reality, nearly everyone in a traditional society learns both how to dominate and how to be submissive, since nearly everyone has someone above them and below them in the social hierarchy. Obviously, the authoritarian escape from freedom is built-in to such a society. But note that, for all that it may offend our modern standards of equality, this is the way people lived for thousands of years. It is a very stable social system, it allows for a great deal of love and friendship, and billions of people live in it still.

2. Withdrawing families. In fact, the main alternative is most notable for its cool indifference, if not cold hatefulness. Although withdrawal as a family style has always been around, it has come to dominate some societies only in the last few hundred years, that is, since the bourgeoisie -- the merchant class -- arrive on the scene in force.

The "cold" version is the older of the two, found in northern Europe and parts of Asia, and wherever merchants are a formidable class. Parents are very demanding of their children, who are expected to live up to high, well-defined standards. Punishment is not a matter of a slap upside the head in full anger and in the middle of dinner; it is instead a formal affair, a full-fledged ritual, possibly involving cutting switches and meeting in the woodshed. Punishment is cold-blooded, done "for your own good." Alternatively, a culture may use guilt and withdrawal of affection as punishment. Either way, children in these cultures become rather strongly driven to succeed in whatever their culture defines as success.

This puritanical style of family encourages the destructive escape from freedom, which is internalized until circumstances (such as war) allow its release. I might add that this kind of family more immediately encourages perfectionism -- living by the rules -- which is also a way of avoiding freedom that Fromm does not discuss. When the rules are more important than people, destructiveness is inevitable.

The second withdrawing kind of family is the modern family, found in the most advanced parts of the world, most notably the USA. Changes in attitudes about child rearing have lead many people to shudder at the use of physical punishment and guilt in raising children. The newer idea is to raise your children as your equals. A father should be a boy's best buddy; a mother should be a daughter's soul mate. But, in the process of controlling their emotions, the parents become coolly indifferent. They are, in fact, no longer really parents, just cohabitants with their children. The children, now without any real adult guidance, turn to their peers and to the media for their values. This is the modern, shallow, television family!

The escape from freedom is particularly obvious here: It is automaton conformity. Although this is still very much a minority family in the world (except, of course, on TV!), this is the one Fromm worries about the most. It seems to portent the future.

What makes up a good, healthy, productive family? Fromm suggests it is a family where parents take the responsibility to teach their children reason in an atmosphere of love. Growing up in this sort of family, children learn to acknowledge their freedom and to take responsibility for themselves, and ultimately for society as a whole.

The social unconscious

But our families mostly just reflect our society and culture. Fromm emphasizes that we soak up our society with our mother's milk. It is so close to us that we usually forget that our society is just one of an infinite number of ways of dealing with the issues of life. We often think that our way of doing things is the only way, the natural way. We have learned so well that it has all become unconscious -- the social unconscious, to be precise. So, many times we believe that we are acting according to our own free will, but we are only following orders we are so used to we no longer notice them.

Fromm believes that our social unconscious is best understood by examining our economic systems. In fact, he defines, and even names, five personality types, which he calls orientations, in economic terms!  If you like, you can take a personality test made up of lists of adjectives Fromm used to describe his orientations. 

1. The receptive orientation. These are people who expect to get what they need. if they don't get it immediately, they wait for it. They believe that all goods and satisfactions come from outside themselves. This type is most common among peasant populations. It is also found in cultures that have particularly abundant natural resources, so that one need not work hard for one's sustenance (although nature may also suddenly withdraw its bounty!). it is also found at the very bottom of any society: Slaves, serfs, welfare families, migrant workers... all are at the mercy of others.

This orientation is associated with symbiotic families, especially where children are "swallowed" by parents, and with the masochistic (passive) form of authoritarianism. It is similar to Freud's oral passive, Adler's leaning-getting, and Horney's compliant personality. In its extreme form, it can be characterized by adjectives such as submissive and wishful. In a more moderate form, adjectives such as accepting and optimistic are more descriptive.

2. The exploitative orientation. These people expect to have to take what they need. In fact, things increase in value to the extent that they are taken from others: Wealth is preferably stolen, ideas plagiarized, love achieved by coercion. This type is prevalent among history's aristocracies, and in the upper classes of colonial empires. Think of the English in India for example: Their position was based entirely on their power to take from the indigenous population. Among their characteristic qualities is the ability to be comfortable ordering others around! We can also see it in pastoral barbarians and populations who rely on raiding (such as the Vikings).

The exploitative orientation is associated with the "swallowing" side of the symbiotic family, and with the masochistic style of authoritarianism. They are Freud's oral aggressive, Adler's ruling-dominant, and Horney's aggressive types. In extremes, they are aggressive, conceited, and seducing. Mixed with healthier qualities, they are assertive, proud, captivating.

3. The hoarding orientation. hoarding people expect to keep. They see the world as possessions and potential possessions. Even loved ones are things to possess, to keep, or to buy. Fromm, drawing on Karl Marx, relates this type to the bourgeoisie, the merchant middle class, as well as richer peasants and crafts people. He associates it particularly with the Protestant work ethic and such groups as our own Puritans.

Hoarding is associated with the cold form of withdrawing family, and with destructiveness. I might add that there is a clear connection with perfectionism as well. Freud would call it the anal retentive type, Adler (to some extent) the avoiding type, and Horney (a little more clearly) the withdrawing type. In its pure form, it means you are stubborn, stingy, and unimaginative. If you are a milder version of hoarding, you might be steadfast, economical, and practical.

4. The marketing orientation. The marketing orientation expects to sell. Success is a matter of how well I can sell myself, package myself, advertise myself. My family, my schooling, my jobs, my clothes -- all are an advertisement, and must be "right." Even love is thought of as a transaction. Only the marketing orientation thinks up the marriage contract, wherein we agree that I shall provide such and such, and you in return shall provide this and that. If one of us fails to hold up our end of the arrangement, the marriage is null and void -- no hard feelings (perhaps we can still be best of friends!) This, according to Fromm, is the orientation of the modern industrial society. This is our orientation!

This modern type comes out of the cool withdrawing family, and tend to use automaton conformity as its escape from freedom. Adler and Horney don't have an equivalent, but Freud might: This is at least half of the vague phallic personality, the type that lives life as flirtation. In extreme, the marketing person is opportunistic, childish, tactless. Less extreme, and he or she is purposeful, youthful, social. Notice today's values as expressed to us by our mass media: Fashion, fitness, eternal youth, adventure, daring, novelty, sexuality... these are the concerns of the "yuppie," and his or her less-wealthy admirers. The surface is everything! Let's go bungee-jumping!

5. The productive orientation. There is a healthy personality as well, which Fromm occasionally refers to as the person without a mask. This is the person who, without disavowing his or her biological and social nature, nevertheless does not shirk away from freedom and responsibility. This person comes out of a family that loves without overwhelming the individual, that prefers reason to rules, and freedom to conformity.

The society that gives rise to the productive type (on more than a chance basis) doesn't exist yet, according to Fromm. He does, of course, have some ideas about what it will be like. He calls it humanistic communitarian socialism. That's quite a mouthful, and made up of words that aren't exactly popular in the USA, but let me explain: Humanistic means oriented towards human beings, and not towards some higher entity -- not the all-powerful State nor someone's conception of God. Communitarian means composed of small communities (Gemeinschaften, in German), as opposed to big government or corporations. Socialism means everyone is responsible for the welfare of everyone else. Thus understood, it's hard to argue with Fromm's idealism!

Fromm says that the first four orientations (which others might call neurotic) are living in the having mode. They focus on consuming, obtaining, possessing.... They are defined by what they have. Fromm says that "I have it" tends to become "it has me," and we become driven by our possessions!

The productive orientation , on the other hand, lives in the being mode. What you are is defined by your actions in this world. You live without a mask, experiencing life, relating to people, being yourself.

He says that most people, being so used to the having mode, use the word have to describe their problems: "Doctor, I have a problem: I have insomnia. Although I have a beautiful home, wonderful children, and a happy marriage, I have many worries." He is looking to the therapist to remove the bad things, and let him keep the good ones, a little like asking a surgeon to take out your gall bladder. What you should be saying is more like "I am troubled. I am happily married, yet I cannot sleep...." By saying you have a problem, you are avoiding facing the fact that you are the problem -- i.e. you avoid, once again, taking responsibility for your life. . .

Human Needs

Erich Fromm, like many others, believed that we have needs that go far beyond the basic, physiological ones that some people, like Freud and many behaviorists, think explain all of our behavior.  He calls these human needs, in contrast to the more basic animal needs.  And he suggests that the human needs can be expressed in one simple statement:  The human being needs to find an answer to his existence.

Fromm says that helping us to answer this question is perhaps the major purpose of culture.  In a way, he says, all cultures are like religions, trying to explain the meaning of life.  Some, of course, do so better than others.

A more negative way of expressing this need is to say that we need to avoid insanity, and he defines neurosis as an effort to satisfy the need for answers that doesn't work for us.  He says that every neurosis is a sort of private religion, one we turn to when our culture no longer satisfies.

He lists five human needs:

1. Relatedness

As human beings, we are aware of our separateness from each other, and seek to overcome it.  Fromm calls this our need for relatedness, and views it as love in the broadest sense.  Love, he says, "is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self." (p 37 of The Sane Society).  It allows us to transcend our separateness without denying us our uniqueness.

The need is so powerful that sometimes we seek it in unhealthy ways.  For example, some seek to eliminate their isolation by submitting themselves to another person, to a group, or to their conception of a God.  Others look to eliminate their isolation by dominating others.  Either way, these are not satisfying:  Your separateness is not overcome.

Another way some attempt to overcome this need is by denying it.  The opposite of relatedness is what Fromm calls narcissism.  Narcissism -- the love of self -- is natural in infants, in that they don't perceive themselves as separate from the world and others to begin with.  But in adults, it is a source of pathology.  Like the schizophrenic, the narcissist has only one reality:  the world of his own thoughts, feelings, and needs.  His world becomes what he wants it to be, and he loses contact with reality.

2. Creativity

Fromm believes that we all desire to overcome, to transcend, another fact of our being:  Our sense of being passive creatures.  We want to be creators.  There are many ways to be creative: We give birth, we plant seeds, we make pots, we paint pictures, we write books, we love each other.  Creativity is, in fact, an expression of love

Unfortunately, some don't find an avenue for creativity.  Frustrated, they attempt to transcend their passivity by becoming destroyers instead.  Destroying puts me "above" the things -- or people -- I destroy.  It makes me feel powerful.  We can hate as well as love.  But in the end, it fails to bring us that sense of transcendence we need.

3. Rootedness

We also need roots.  We need to feel at home in the universe, even though, as human beings, we are somewhat alienated from the natural world.

The simplest version is to maintain our ties to our mothers.  But to grow up means we have to leave the warmth of our mothers' love.  To stay would be what Fromm calls a kind of psychological incest.  In order to manage in the difficult world of adulthood, we need to find new, broarder roots.  We need to discover our brotherhood (and sisterhood) with humanity.

This, too has its pathological side:  For example, the schizophrenic tries to retreat into a womb-like existence, one where, you might say, the umbilical cord has never been cut.  There is also the neurotic who is afraid to leave his home, even to get the mail.  And there's the fanatic who sees his tribe, his country, his church... as the only good one, the only real one.  Everyone else is a dangerous outsider, to be avoided or even destroyed.

4.  A sense of identity

"Man may be defined as the animal that can say 'I.'" (p 62 of The Sane Society)  Fromm believes that we need to have a sense of identity, of individuality, in order to stay sane.

This need is so powerful that we are sometimes driven to find it, for example by doing anything for signs of status, or by trying desperately to conform.  We sometimes will even give up our lives in order to remain a part of our group.  But this is only pretend identity, an identity we take from others, instead of one we develop ourselves, and it fails to satisfy our need.

5. A frame of orientation

Finally, we need to understand the world and our place in it.  Again, our society -- and especially the religious aspects of our culture -- often attempts to provide us with this understanding.  Things like our myths, our philosophies, and our sciences provide us with structure.

Fromm says this is really two needs:  First, we need a frame of orientation -- almost anything will do.  Even a bad one is better than none!  And so people are generally quite gullible.  We want to believe, sometimes even desperately.  If we don't have an explanation handy, we will make one up, via rationalization.

The second aspect is that we want to have a good frame of orientation, one that is useful, accurate.  This is where reason comes in.  It is nice that our parents and others provide us with explanations for the world and our lives, but if they don't hold up, what good are they?  A frame of orientation needs to be rational.

Fromm adds one more thing:  He says we don't just want a cold philosophy or material science.  We want a frame of orientation that provides us with meaning.  We want understanding, but we want a warm, human understanding."

There are many different environments that shape and program our personalities and hence our lives. This programming where a specific role model/identity is encouraged or forced upon the individual also occurs past early childhood into adulthood. For example, if one is raised in a military family, where the father, mother or both are combat veterans, the grandfather is a career officer, the uncle works in the defense department, and one's older peers are planning to join the military, one becomes conditioned to the military bias, its values, needs, bias, and justifications. Rather than questioning the validity of such a role/identity one is pressured to conform to it. One is sent to military school and signs up unquestionably, while dissent or doubt is quickly quashed. The more insecurity, self doubt, unconscious guilt, and exploitive and manipulative people that inhabit one's social environment, the more insistent will be the pressure to conform.

In such societies children are stripped of their innate power, critical and creative thought abilities, and innate curiosity at an early age. "Don't question our authority, just obey what I say" is the mantra. If one obeys, then one is awarded the carrot. If one disobeys, then one is punished. Better yet if they can be made into enthusiastic and willing slaves.

This conflict between the innate evolutionary/creative spark embodied within each being and the desire for society to exploit and manipulate beings to their selfish purpose lies at the root of most l psycho/social conflict. Such conflict can manifest in adolescent rebellion, depression, neuroses, schizoid behavior, hypocrisy, aggressiveness, as well as chronic whining, apathy depression, complacency, and escapism. Herein also lies the cause for equivocation, pretension, chronic deceit, and the death wish. There, a lifetime full of confusion, dichotomy, ambiguity, deceit, and irony awaits. It is not a contradiction at all that many of the most politically powerful men in history were severely disempowered spiritually. They associated with and sought the power that they lacked in their A"will/desire for power". Similarly those who remain addicted to those in authority and power (the status quo authoritarian personalities) seek power through association; i.e., they feel nourished and secure by secondarily gleaning power through psychological transference and projection mechanisms.

Be it a death cult, a religious cult, hedonist cult, an economic cult, nationalistic, racial, political, xenophobic, chauvinistic, or consumer cult the individual will be assaulted by institutionalized forces within their countries, provinces, societies, religions, schools, business, communities, families, and institutions by those who desire obedience or conformity to their needs or persuasion. hence the need for institutions that teach critical thought, self awareness, self empowerment, knowing the nature of one's own mind, and which reflect the beauty of and exist in harmony with the evolutionary/creative power. Then the true purpose of life will be both realized and expressed together in fulfillment

II. 25 tad-abhavat samyoga abhavo hanam tad drseh kaivalyam

Unconditional and unbounded liberation (kaivalya) occurs when false identifications (samyoga) are absent (abhavat). thus a disengagement (hanam) from attachment associations which are false/ersatz identifications (samyoga) with apparently separate objects which are seen (drseh) then disappear (abhava) or dissolve.

samyogah: A conflation or equivocation. A limited self identification with an object. The state and/or mechanism of narcissistic false identification where delusion and addictive entanglements hold us back in old body/mind patterns. A specific kind of citta-vrtti where a self created bondage to subject/object duality occurs; confusion of an imputed separate self with the object of its confusion. A false identification or conjoining of one thing as another thing by the mind. The confusion of sameness where one thing is equivocated as being the same as something else, rather than compared in terms of its wholistic mutuality (in terms of the whole). It is an over-generalization where a blurring of the difference between two things or objects by marginalizing one or both. It can also be the similar error of over-generalization which takes the specific phenomena or event to be the whole, or extrapolating the whole to be the same as the specific such as in stereotyping, monism, etc. Samyoga is very limited and daze-like state where the ego desperately tries to hold on to a self-created order, through occupying itself in a specific type of citta-vrtti where diversity is denied, avoided, or ignored. An avoidance of and/or failure to recognize the inseparability of differentiated and undifferentiated reality, where ever-newness reflects the living love of ever-presence -- where ever-newness is the unbroken and continuous expression of ever-presence. When resistance to change appears in our practice, it is most often the result of samyoga. The remedy is to apply viveka more skillfully.

kaivalya: Sublime dissolution of the ego. Unconditional, natural, spontaneous, and unbounded freedom, where the mental elusion of "self/ego" dissolves into the unlimited transpersonal non-dual all pervading omnipresent omniscient living reality after absorption. Absorption occurs when something is taken "into" a medium and as a result disappears "from" something as a consequence. Absorb involves dissolution or diffusion usually into a larger medium. For example, dhyana (meditation) is the process of the absorption of the modalities of dualistic consciousness into universal all encompassing primordial consciousness. Here the ego-sense or dualistic sense of self is dissolved/absorbed. When that process of union/yoga is complete, it is known as samadhi which is unconditional sublime non-dual liberation. Paradoxically, the disintegration/dissolution of the ego, brings about the greater union/integration with the ultimate truth behind all phenomena. In a similar way, kaivalyam denotes the dissolution of the citta-vrtta.

bhava: presence,

abhava: disappearance, dissolution, lack of presence, absence.

hanam: escape, detachment, disengagement, abandonment. denial, avoidance, nullification

drseh: from the seen; the vector or ability of seeing.

Commentary: When the individual mind is afflicted by egoic ignorance, then one continues to fracture and corrupt experiences, making it disjointed, fragmented, limited, ersatz, and neurotic (until our grasping unto it is finally relinquished). Thus avidya-klesha is the first cause of all the kleshas. When it's burdensome veil is lifted the truth discloses that the nature of liberation is *not* further isolation, separation, independence, fragmentation, and disparate disintegration apart from everything else. Rather sublime liberation is not found in egoic isolation, but in its dissolution, which brings forth unimpaired direct communion, inter-connection, integration, and union that an authentic and functional yoga practice evokes, until ultimate samadhi is realized (freedom from separation and obstruction which is kaivalyam). Asmita-raga is the ersatz false identification of ego ignorance called samyoga. It's attachments are difficult to break. When it is broken all limitations are lifted and hence the field of consciousness is expanded to omniscience.

This sutra is important in understanding Pada 4 (Kaivalyam), as it is here that Sri Patanjali defines what he means by "kaivalyam" (as dissolution of the individual delusional self/ego) into the vast ocean of transpersonal consciousness. This also is in harmony with Patanjali's definition of samadhi in III.3 as swarupa- sunyam). Kaivalyam is *not*, as the reductionist philosophers interpret, an isolation or aloneness.

Here, we connect and identify with, and are informed by, our intrinsic heart/core connection -- the pure universal intrinsic HeartMind consciousness (purusa) which abides innately within all beings and things non-dually. We peer from that universal holographic core center, while perceiving self and other interdependently (non-dually). As this unborn universal seed is within all beings and nature, as our true nature, it is revealed and illumined both within and without -- beyond the dualistic fabrications of I/it existence entirely. As such it guides all our activities of body, speech, and mind in All Our Relations. As such, the absolute union of pure undifferentiated unborn seed consciousness and differentiated consciousness are united in the Long Body -- the Great Integrity -- it-is-as-it-is resting in its true universal nature (swarupa) empty of an independent self, dissolving (hana) all prejudice, taint, and limited dualistic views (drseh). When the universal eye is opened, it naturally sees itself universally. To the rishi, nowhere is it absent, but to a deluded person it is obscured.

Ignorance (avidya) of the authentic process of true non-dual recognition is the cause of suffering, which is really the process of ignoring our true nature, which is the cause (hetur) our fixations. distractions, and false identifications in reaction to apparently separate objects within a fragmented or corrupt context (our experiences of separation, duality, or polarization of apparently disparate objects and a separate independent (seer) that acts as the witness/perceiver). The false identification of the seer with what is seen is called samyoga. That is rooted in dualistic thought where one grasps onto a disparate object, situation, or condition and places oneself within that contextual relationship. That is the same thing as identification with the citta-vrtti and having these conditions that define the self. This is a very limited state of being that ignores the universal intrinsic seed source (purusa) and its all pervasive nature. All relationships all can be limiting and imprisoning, as long as they are based on ego attachment (asmita as a separate independent self) experiencing a limited condition/situation. There is only one relationship which is liberating, wholistic, and complete -- that where there is no separate self and so separate independent objects, rather phenomena are seen as interdependent -- flowing they co-arise subject to cause and effect, but empty of any essential nature except a formless native self luminous seed emptiness itself (purusa consciousness). That is what is meant by native peoples as All Our Relations. It is transpersonal recognizing the common base of life -- grounded in the transpersonal heart/core (hridayam) and thus being informed by such.

Kaivalya (unconditional and natural liberation) occurs when the karma is entirely burned up and hence there is nothing holding the ego (asmita) to the wheel of cyclic existence (samsara). Suffering is thus unconditionally liberated. To call this isolation even from samsara is limiting kaivalyam as dvesa (aversion) or seascape hanam). Kaivalya is not limited or tainted by any dvesa-klesha, nor by any desire raga-klesha) to escape (hanam), nor any condition whatsoever. being free from karma and conditions) it is natural and unconditioned -- is at once uncreated, eternal, birthless, unborn and formless yet simultaneously unceasing all pervasive and penetrating all form. It is due to the total absence (abhava) of limited ego associations and identifications (samyoga).

To sum up, the ordinary man is bound by ignorance (avidya) which reinforces separation as well as false identification with objects owned; i.e., asmita. false identification, and the rest of the kleshas. From this confusion, which is duality, then false identifications become the norm; and we do not realize whence commonly consciousness has become seduced, fixated, possessed, fascinated, possessed, obsessed, extracted to, distracted, objectified, and imprisoned to limited identifications. Various practices such as viveka, vairagya, and meditation (dhyana) then lend themselves (tad-abhavat) to enabling us to extract and liberate ourselves from these apparent attachments and diversions to appearances which are seen (drseh). Thus abandonment (hanah) of limited false identifications and fixations (samyogah) occur more naturally. Then ignorance is destroyed (abhavat), thus unconditional liberation (kaivalyam) from that which is seen (drseh) eventually occurs naturally. What follows from this natural liberation (kaivalyam) is the natural abandonment of ignorance, fixations, and dualistic false identification ceases. In the following sutras Sri Patanjali offers viveka khyatir (discriminatory wisdom) as a prime remedy for samyoga, avidya, and all the other obscurations. It's sharp sword is honed through the practice of astanga yoga.

Through the realization of nirbija samadhi (ultimate union and integration) comes kaivalya, absolute liberation. Kaivalyam is not a freedom from "any thing" but rather freedom from separation itself; i.e., All Our Relations. HERE there are no limitations because one is merged with boundless Self in the Heart of Hearts. HERE the veil of ignorance (avidya) has been lifted and the vrtti have become annihilated revealing the natural self abiding self" (swarupa) -- the goal of yoga. Without the removal (hanam) of ignorance (avidya) the false dualistic identifications and fixations (samyogah) could not be removed, and hence the highest synchronization of authentic yoga could not exist (abhavat). All false and limited identifications and ignorance are removed in kaivalyam. See Kaivalyam Pada especially Sutra 34 for more.

II. 26. viveka-khyatir aviplava hanopayah

The skillful means of disengaging (hanopayah) from these traps of egoic confusion and bondage (samyoga) is effected by the continuous application (aviplava) of profound integrated mutuality which illumines the interdependence of the whole of creation as well as the creative process (viveka-khyatir).

viveka: relative awareness within an integrative context. The skillful means to extend the innate wisdom (prajna) as applied into the world of ever changing diverse forms (phenomena) as a comparative process taking into account the mutuality of multiplicity (the relative nature of all phenomena). The acknowledgement of All Our Relations and identifying as a non-dual integrative and intimate part of it. In it's heightened form, NOW awareness, open awareness, naked awareness, profound primordial presence. Unerring, unbiased and unconstructed observation is the first component part of viveka, but then that awareness is extended and expressed through the container (the human being). So at first it is the distinction between kleshic (obscured) awareness where the innate prajna (innate wisdom) is hindered, then as that awareness deepens there obscurations are lifted. What is left is light or clarity (khyati).

Differentiated awareness where all beings and things are recognized as mutual interdependent components of a greater whole (not separate); the awareness that discerns, recognizes, or acknowledges the one in the many, and the many in context with the one. Self luminous discriminating wisdom. The union of cit (pure consciousness) with differentiated reality (pure sat). A finer and more refined subtle differentiation is found by expanding integrative awareness, not through further reduction and isolation. By refined, it is meant enriched, as in an increased awareness of the subtle inter-relationships between all things and beings which is our innate birthright revealing the inherent beauty and abundance and brilliance od the intelligent evolutionary power. When relative reality is viewed in terms of the Integral Whologram as revealing all things and beings from beginningless time -- when primordial consciousness and evolutionary primordial energy are recognized as being inseparable, then the fullness of life becomes pregnant with meaning. (See glossary for more).

khyati: Clarity; wisdom: realization; illumination, a realized state of spiritual knowledge.

hana: freedom from, removal; elimination, escape, disengagement. liberation from a condition..

aviplava: unbroken; continuous; ever present

upaya: skillful means or method

Commentary: So the recognition of our inter-dependence as a continuous recognition of the whole (true wholiness) in All Our Relations will do the trick -- will eliminate the ego's tendency toward false identification, confusion, and any further complications of ignorance. Viveka in its heightened form is the sharp sword that cuts through samyoga and all obstructions/obscurations. It brings clarity, and with it, liberation from ignorance; i.e., wisdom in motion.

The skillful means that effects this liberation from the kleshas (hanopayah) is the realization that all experiences of infinite diversity are continuous unbroken and interdependent -- not separate from Source. That unbroken awareness when experienced is called viveka-khyater. Similarly stated, the skillful means (upaya) that removes (hano) ignorance, egoic fixations, and false identifications is the continuous, uninterrupted, constant, and unbroken (aviplava) application of differentiated wisdom which discloses the true integrative nature of relative reality (viveka-khyatir) -- being able to know the parts of the whole in relative integral context, thus affording ourselves the opportunity to apply the skillful remediation process (hano-upayah) in All Our Relations (as differentiated consciousness as applied to interdependent co-arising revealing the underlying self luminous all pervading absolute reality) -- a pre-existing natural inherent harmony and unity (as yoga) which was heretofore obscured but is now removed (hano).

In short, viveka in its elementary form is simple awareness of a thing or object, but that awareness as such is normally limited comparing one limited thing to another limited thing in comparison. Eventually however objects are KNOWN through a heightened realization (khyater) where things and objects are compared to the entire universe, evolution, and primordial source consciousness wherein they are known devoid of bias or any other limitation. Sharpening this heightened knowledge is both the instrumental/skillful means and the result of astanga yoga as we will see in the next few sutras. As we have seen, samyoga is the sleepy state of bland sameness, blocked creative energy, and indifference which inures us to ignorance (the blockage of creative pure vision). Samyoga is broken up via viveka which is an innate power brought forward into fruition via astanga yoga.

An unwavering (aviplava) self revealing luminosity of discriminatory awareness (viveka-khyatir) is the skillful means (upayah) which nullifies or removes (hana) ignorance (avidya). Yet another way of saying this is that effective practices, such as meditation, is achieved when ignorance is reduced or removed through the skillful, continuous, and automatic application of viveka-khyatir. In viveka-khyatir we notice, observe, and become aware of the arising of the fixation/false identification with its resultant veiling of consciousness, and we then are able to remove or nullify it (hanopayah). Then we let go of that fixation (vairagya) easing ourselves into the more expansive consciousness that knows no bounds -- Eternal Presence. In fact such fixations lose their hold entirely and will not even arise when viveka-khyatir becomes constant and unbroken (aviplava) through skillful means (upaya). Viveka and vairagya are skillful means (upaya) which eliminate (hana) avidya (ignorance).

Despite the standard samkhya philosophical rendering of "viveka" we must assert that yoga and samkhya are not the same thing. Rather we define viveka-khyatir within the integrative yogic context, not within the standard samkhya dualistic proclivity. Viveka-khyatir is a heightened stage of self realization/wisdom where the innate wisdom (prajna) has become extended/flooded, thus gaining superintendence over the sense organs and one's entire embodied experience. Even the most minute discernment or differentiation of the world of form (phenomena) is experienced from a state of unitary awareness in its completeness and wholeness. This is the heightened quality of discriminative wisdom or spiritual discernment where all "things" are seen in relationship as interdependent living systems as integral parts of the overall integrity of "being" and "consciousness", not as separate fragmented parts viewed apart from the whole. The ability to make the most subtle distinctions without losing the overall integrity of relationships. The one is seen in the many (infinite differentiation), while the many is experienced as one. This includes any object of attention such as the body as a whole, its organs, insides, neuro-physiology, and thought forms as well as the created universe and all forms of energy (seen or not seen) via the senses; i.e., the world of form appears as a magical mandala in pure vision -- the holographic multiverse.

Prajna and viveka-khyater thus are not separate nor opposed wisdoms, rather prajna as innate intuitive wisdom has only become extended permeating the entire way of being and relating. This outer integration of prajna (which was heretofore always present but undifferentiated as pure light and inner wisdom) is now integrated with differentiated awareness. Viveka-khyatir is NOT intellectual discrimination or analysis done by the intellect (buddhi). But how is viveka-khyater realized? We will see in sutra II. 27 and 28 below. We learn how to reveal consciousness hidden in nature in nature albeit in a latent stage via the eight limbs of yoga, such as in yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, etc. For example in asana practice we learn about the many elements of the body and breath in relationship to everything else. In astanga yoga we learn about how all the limbs of yoga are inter-related to the body of yoga. But foremost we learn how to do this is in meditation practice (dhyana). Then we can more easily apply this wisdom to everyday life in All Our Relations. The more we apply it in daily life, the easier it is accessible in meditation. A positive feedback loop is activated and nurtured.

Viveka is a key process in our meditation. At first we apply awareness to our process of awareness itself so that when the mind apprehends or becomes fixated upon an apparently separate object, we are aware that the contents of our mind's dualistic tendency when it has become occupied (pratyaya). Through viveka as basic awareness, we recognize/notice that the mind has become hijacked or otherwise so occupied/possessed. Secondly we are then able to disengage this form of possession (via vairagya) and return awareness back (pratyhara) into its source (cit) which has no bounds. That is the basic use of viveka, but there is more.

Again viveka is not to be confused with the intellectual or analytical reductionist processes of samkhya or vedanta, but rather applied in meditation practice (raj yoga) one becomes aware when the mind has wandered over time more easily and with less effort (through a more consistent constant application and familiarity with the process of self awareness). Thus one knows where the mind is (viveka) and wandering and fluctuations of the mental processes eventually ceases, while self correcting positive mental patterns devoid of such tendencies are established.. Here Patanjali uses the word, khyater, (clarity of illuminating wisdom) along with the word, viveka, indicating that this is not just the application of discriminatory discernment alone. Rather a particular way of seeing through viveka-khyatir has been gleaned through practice and has become potenized. Viveka-khyatir, as the pure awareness of pure awareness as displayed through the mandala of form -- as the clear lucidity that discloses, first grows inside as an opening to the intelligent Universal Source of Consciousness itself (ascribed to purusha), but which evidences everywhere. It is the cit shining through more brightly -- the realization of our True Self our own true self nature (swarupa) which abides within as our highest potential. In this higher vision (khyati) of viveka, cit is brought together and merges with differentiated reality (all and everything that we can see, hear, taste, feel, smell, perceive, or imagine. That is done within the framework of astanga yoga. It is nothing other than the union of pure consciousness (cit) and sat (beingness) eventually resulting in Satchitananda..

So let us be clear that although we can ascribe names to "what" this illuminating wisdom (viveka khyater) illuminates, the light of that light (the param purusha) is the illuminating primal seed source which is shining through, and to which yoga practice is designed to reconnect us with as an unbroken continuity because every manifestation/form is an unbroken emanation from Beginningless Source. Beginningless Source never goes away --it is always present. It is only because our minds have become fragmented from that continuity or Great Integrity, that we need to practice yoga in the first place.

See commentary on viveka in Sutra II.15 above, Sutra II. 28 below, and in Pada Four: Kaivalyam, Sutras IV. 8, 15, 21, 26, 27, 29.

The normal intellect (buddhi) is assigned to the ego. As such it is under the control of individual will, it is capable of performing many intellectual, conceptual, and cognitive tasks, but that "intelligent" use is limited and specific, and not always functional (upaya). That is one aspect of buddhi (the inflect). But really buddhi comes from Mahat (universal intelligence) which is transpersonal. This is not viveka-khyateh and not what astanga yoga is designed to do.

Buddhi is a dim reflection of mahat. In turn Mahat comes from purusa/Maheshvara, hence the seed source of buddhi or intellect is the all pervading ever accessible omnipresent Siva (Maheshvara). The point being that ordinary analytical thought (often called discriminatory awareness) under the direction of the ego and will, is not what is being referred to here as viveka-khyater. Albeit some intellectuals are confused as to this, viveka-khyater is the profound spiritual discriminatory awareness that allows the nondual seeker to discern purusa within prakrti -- to see the effulgent self in all, to recognize our true nature, and self liberate realizing the true nature of universal unconditioned natural mind, kaivalya. It is the power (saktyoh) of pure differentiated consciousness wedded to pure undifferentiated absolute consciousness (purusa).

Patanjali is saying that samyoga is a limited false identification (asmita-raga) where the observer grasps onto objects and identifies with the objects (not unlike in I.5 when “At other times one identifies with the citta-vrtti”. Both asmita-raga (as attachment and  identification with views), and asmita-dvesa (repulsion and disassociation from phenomena (alienation) cause serious vrtti.

Here Patanjali prescribes the practice of viveka, of which  promotes prajna (intrinsic wisdom) by both removing the two extremes of false identification (the confusion of samyoga where asmita-raga dominates) and the confusion dominated by asmita-dvesa which produces nihilism, dissociation, isolation, and alienation. In non-dual realization (swarupa-sunyam samadhi) there is in reality no separate object or observer, and hence no separate object of differentiation, yet "things" apparently exist.

Viveka-khyater  is nothing else than differentiated awareness which illumines that profound mutuality—the way we view the universe in an integrated/interdependent wholistic context. Without it we can not discern/see Maheshvara within Shakti – Brahman within maya, purusa within prakrti, nirvana within samsara, etc. To borrow from Tantra either Shakti clothes and veils Siva or she reveals him!

To reiterate, viveka is *not* merely buddhi (intellect) which is under the control of the ego and will. Patanjali does not mean ordinary dualistic analytical reductionism by "viveka", rather *spiritual discernment* of the intrinsic pure seed consciousness (isvara) within nature (prakrti) -- bringing *everything* home HERE and NOW as differentiated consciousness. Viveka is the recognition that all phenomena are interconnected and not disparate. The discriminative wisdom that allows the yogi to discern how things are interdependent is what is called viveka which leads to yoga. When the universe is seen as fragmented, disparate, and not related the observer lives in a no man's wasteland of confusion and ignorance, lacking integrative context or integrity. Abiding i that integrity consciously is what yogis call, yoga.  

Then Patanjali says quite straightforwardly in I.28 that the purpose of astanga yoga is to go beyond strengthening viveka-khyater; i.e., that astanga yoga is an awareness practice that develops insight to an ultimate degree, culminating in samadhi; but more so, that astanga yoga merges cit-shakti (cit-prana). It is as though the world of things as well as the body appears as if asleep at first, then through pure awareness itself things become alive -- they become imbued with an all encompassing reflectivity -- revealing the both the many and the one together - the mystery of the hologram revealed. Where Pada I emphasized vairagya (which is fundamentally passive and internal), here Pada two emphasizes viveka (active and extended); while for the hatha yogi both come together energetically in the sushumna or upaya nadi – middle way or central channel.  It is through that profound integration and mutuality between pure consciousness or cit (siva) and pure beingness or sat (shakti) that the evolutionary energy is connected to its primordial source within the conscious awakened human being in Sat-Cit-Ananda. In Reality, siva and shakti -- undifferentiated and differentiated realities, the absolute and relative truths are married and inseparable disclosing a profound mutuality which extends to and from all "beings" and "things".

"It's as if the consciousness were no longer in the same position with respect to things, so they appear totally different. The ordinary human consciousness, even the broadest, always occupies the center position, and things exist in relation to that center: in the human consciousness, you are in one point, and everything exists in relation to that point of consciousness. But now, the point is no longer there! So things exist in themselves.... My consciousness is within things; it isn't something that 'receives'."

The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 17 November 1971)

For example for the hatha yogi, while engaging in asana and pranayama practice, the nadis (energy channels) carry not only life energy (prana), but also psychic energy (cit). Not only life energy and psychic energy, but also Prana from infinite source. The avarana's (coverings) of these passageways are uncovered, purified, opened, and strengthened so that more psychic-energy and consciousness will flow through into embodiment. It is in this way that the world of form (phenomenal reality) is heightened) and truly revealed to be holographic in nature- full of light, timeless wisdom, and NOW awareness. This relationship between viveka-khyater and prajna (intrinsic wisdom) becomes clear in II.27

Although Patanjali's advice is to be taken at first within the context for the practice of meditation, we can apply it (viveka-khyatir aviplava hanopayah) in All Our Relations as it leads to All Our Relations

II. 27. tasya saptadha pranta-bhumih prajna

Thus the yogi spreads (pranta) this transconceptual differentiated wisdom (viveka) as a continuous seamless integration of innate wisdom-light (prajna) [into all our relationships] via seven interfacing fields of practice or stages [samadhi being the eighth] (saptadha pranta-bhumih).


Thus wisdom (prajna) is sharpened and developed through the application of vivid awareness (viveka) that reveals seven (saptadha) open doorways (pranta) consisting of interconnected mutually synergistic and co-creative stages (bhumis).

pranta: An intermediate or transitional state; a portal or bridge between two or more things. To bring forward toward its eventual fruition or completeness; pushing the envelope; working your edges; interfacing. Pranta implies going beyond the existing frontier or breaking a known boundary. Literally breaking/moving forward; discovering a new .edge. border, ledge, or boundary etc. Relating to the process of moving into new territory. As such in yoga as a wholistic practice, pranta connotes the breaking of old boundaries and introduces the idea that all the practices are interconnected, lead to, and are integral with, the common integration, samadhi. In fact, the eight limbs of astanga yoga are seamless; i.e., they are interconnected by seven open doorways, interactive, and mutually supportive.

prajna: intrinsic, innate, inherent, or intuitive wisdom: underestimated or inner wisdom. It is non-dual wisdom (prajna) as natural light which links all the limbs as pranta (gateless portals or open doorways) each to the other seamlessly.

saptadha: sevenfold

bhumi: field, stage. dimension, plane, interspace, platform; level, ground, basis, strata, or gate.

Commentary: Here viveka-khyateh is both brought forward and fructified through this practice, while at the same time it is the instrumental means, which provides success in the practice (which is completed in samadhi).Viveka, thus is characterized as the spreading forth of prajna in seven stages culminating in samadhi. Viveka-khyatir (see previous sutra) at its zenith reveals its inherent integration with prajna (intrinsic undifferentiated wisdom) -- the union of absolute and relative truths. That transconceptual integration is the fruit that is developed via astanga yoga practice. In turn that wisdom (viveka-khyatir) is itself brought to bear on astanga yoga practice as it itself is developed thus forming a mutually accelerating synergy where all yoga practices reflect back this profound interdependent mutuality. Sutra 27 is a continuation of sutras 24 - 26 and naturally lead us to sutra 28..

Underlying all things is an intrinsic all pervading formless luminous wisdom or clarity (prajna) whose edges (pranta) are sharpened and pierced in seven (sapta) stages (bhumis), eventually becoming edgeless and open-ended. The development of this self luminous wisdom is self revealing to those who have sought spiritual discernment. The limbs or components of astanga yoga are in yoga, while "saptadha pranta-bhumih" connotes the breaking of old boundaries, which are broken down into eight practices, each one having its own completion in relation to the others.

In fact, the eight limbs of astanga yoga are seamless; i.e., they are interconnected by seven open doorways (pranta) which are normally seen as closed because of avidya (ignorance). Here the wise yogi extends prajna into these practices, which open up what was previously blocked. imprisoned or bounded. Each branch is a perfection and completion of prajna staring with yam/niyam. Samadhi is complete and perfect in itself. It is self-contained and nascent in all the other seven. These seven stages develop, sharpen, and fully utilize viveka-khyater to its highest point through practicing it (sharpening it) as it perfects each yogic limbs permeating it with prajna. Similarly, through wise practice bringing awareness into previously dissociated areas of life, which had previously been experienced as an or fragmented extrinsic existence, an alive integration is awakened. In short, we bring awareness and life into every aspect of life as practice via the wise application of astanga yoga eventually leading to total seamless integration in samadhi. Hence samadhi is the culmination of the seven pranta bhumis (interspaces), where there is no further interspace that can be postulated to exist outside of that.

Patanjali is approaching the practice of eight limbed (astanga) yoga in seven mutually synergistic co-creative methods and approaches. As wisdom (prajna) dawns, so does ignorance fall away. There are seven transition stages that lead to samadhi. As ignorance falls away, wisdom dawns. Through practice we see that wisdom supports more wisdom -- that elements of all the limbs are found in each other, i.e., that they all reflect the overall tree which is yoga.

We will find that each stage is mutually synergistic, each able to mutually access, support, and amplify each other, while always keeping in mind that they in reality form an interactive dynamic whole being capable of both accessing the evolutionary Source of Consciousness and Beingness as well as being its natural expression. The seven boundaries to travail and open up are:

  1. yam and niyam
  2. niyam and asana
  3. asana and pranayama
  4. pranayama and pratyhara
  5. pratyhara and dharana
  6. dharana and dhyana
  7. dhyana and samadhi

From Samadhi there is no further stage or boundary to travail. In a similar sense each of the seven pranta bhumis interspace with each other, hence:

Yam integrates with niyam, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Niyam interspaces with yam, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Asana interfaces with yam, niyam, pranayama,dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Pranayama interfaces with yam, niyam, asana, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi

Pratyhara interspaces with yam, niyam, asana, pranayama, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Dharana... Dhyana... and Samadhi interfaces with the other seven. These interfaces are going on all the time (continuously) in functional astanga yoga.

Here in II.27, Patanjali has just finished his discussion of ignorance (avidya), kleshas, karma, and false identifications. Kriya yoga, pratiprasava, dhyana, and viveka-khyatir were mentioned as remediations, but until now, Patanjali has not addressed how to develop viveka-khyater (differentiated consciousness or the truth of relativity) which is an awareness which potentially exists inherently in all things and beings.

So in order to accomplish just that Patanjali suggests astanga yoga. We begin the discussion of this major auxiliary sadhana generally labeled as astanga (eight limb) yoga here. Indeed astanga yoga greatly strengthens and enriches differentiated awareness while integrating that as recognizing purusa (undifferentiated consciousness) residing within the heart of all differentiated phenomena (so called co-arisen interdependent phenomena devoid of any independent or separate "self". In fact we will see how through astanga yoga, viveka-khyater eventually leads the yogi to samadhi, which is the realization that extrinsic and intrinsic awareness have the same base, that they are both parts of a great inseparable all encompassing seamless continuity of peerless Integrity. But of course at first the yogi starts from a a corrupted state of awareness -- a separation due to disconnection where the pathways of wisdom (prajna) are blocked by delusion (avidya).

Tantrics may say that the reference to the seven phases is a mystical reference to correspond to the development of the seven chakras. In short the channels or nadis interconnecting the natural flow of energy between the chakras are blocked by the kleshas and hence the opens up these artificially created boundaries. Others who take Vyasa and the samkhya dualistic philosophical tradition as authority will analyze this sutra in traditional philosophical and academic methods of gradation, each level of jnana (knowledge) removing another layer of ignorance, while disclosing an underlying expansive view (vidya) ending in absolute liberation or kaivalyam. Although it is true that astanga yoga brings forth prajna, however such a philosophical analysis of Sutra II.27 is out of place in this context of astanga yoga, which is the instrumental cause for samadhi, rather through tools of intellectual analysis or conceptual fabrication (vikalpa) which is not a tool that Patanjali ever would suggest.

Since the preceding subject has been viveka as applied to the process of differentiated awareness (a rich multiplicit all encompassing awareness within the context of an overall integrated awareness), while the succeeding sutra begins the introduction to the practice (anusthana) of astanga yoga as a path of purification (suddhi), which also removes the blockages obscuring viveka-khyater and sharpens it to a highly polished degree, it seems conclusive that Patanjali is clearly stating the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence pathways between each limb. For example asana has seven pathways to the other seven limbs, pranayama also has seven pathways to the other seven limbs, and so forth like that.

This is the purpose of astanga yoga -- to cut through ignorance and blockages and thus propitiate samadhi. Through the practice which has seven stages (samadhi has no further extension as it is complete in itself) each acts asana open doorway both reflecting the light (prajna) from the innate wisdom and leading the practitioner towards it. In a wise astanga yoga practice a previous area of awareness which has become obscured, ignored, numbed out, gray, blocked, or unrecognized, now becomes vibrant, alive, conscious, opened up, connected and made brilliant/shining -- illumined. Through astanga yoga the yogi allows for the basic luminous and seamless loving space (which is the dharmadhatu) to experience all phenomena which in its ultimate sense is entirely transconceptual and can only be fully experienced in samadhi beyond labeling and duality whose source is primordial wisdom. That is what wise practice reveals and as this revelation increases so does the process of astanga yoga until ultimate natural uncontrived liberation. .

Swami Venkatesananda says:

"This awareness is keen, intense and operative even in the field of the first seven of the eight states or limbs of yoga-practice whose description follows: this practice should therefore not be a mechanical, unintelligent, dull routine."


II. 28. yoga-anga-anusthanad asuddhi-ksye jnana-diptir a viveka-khyateh

Through the practice (anusthana) of these limbs of yoga (yoga-angam) the obstructions and impurities (asuddhi) which occlude the self effulgent vision of truth (jnana-diptir) are destroyed (ksaye) to the extent (a) that one simultaneously develops and utilizes interconnected awareness (viveka-khyatir) to extend to all things and beings without limit.

angam: limbs or components.

anusthana: doing, practicing, undertaking.

asuddhi: impurities

ksye: destruction or elimination

jnana: knowledge

diptir: radiance, splendor, or light

a: up to; leading toward; as far as.

viveka: mutual awareness of, waking up to relationship. The realization of the unity of relative truth (where all things and events are known as inter-connected and continuous from beginingless time). At first the act of noticing or observing "something", then this awareness is extended to it in relationship to everything else including its origin observing its interconnectedness or mutuality. Relative awareness, differentiated awareness or discriminatory wisdom in the asamprajnata (non-dual, transcognitive, and transpersonal) sense.

khyateh: Realized: understood, seen, illumined. Clarity.

Commentary: The practice of astanga yoga brings forth (anusthana) the destruction and purification of the blockages (asuddhi-ksye) of the natural free flow of interconnected awareness and energy -- it opens up the pathways and nadis (psychic nerves). This sutra is a seamless continuation of Sutras 24-27. Yoga culminates in samadhi.

"Yoga is samadhi"

Swami Rama

Here viveka-khyateh is both the means, not in its most pure form leads destroys ignorance -- the means to mukti (kaivalyam). As one practices it as a means, that means becomes highly sharpened and polished through practice. The practice of astanga yoga both potentiates viveka khyater and in turn viveka-khyater potentiates astanga yoga, as they act as mutual synergist. In one sense it may seem clear that Patanjali is presenting astanga yoga as a method to develop awareness -- (viveka-khyater) as an awareness practice which awakens and extends our highest wisdom (prajna) and potential into life and our experiences. Likewise Patanjali is also saying that viveka-khyatir really is an awareness tool that furthers the goal of astanga yoga, which is samadhi. One thing is certain; i.e., that viveka-khyatir is not fructified via conceptual elaborations or intellectual study, but rather through practice (astanga yoga) according to Sri Patanjali.

Jnana-diptir, means light of knowledge or the knowledge bearing light. Hence the practitioner of ashtanga yoga becomes a holder of light-- its container. The yogi learns how to contain and then express that light.

Asuddhi-ksaye is to destroy the impurities and obstructions that occlude the jnana-diptir which viveka-khyater discloses. As the obstructions decrease through practice of astanga yoga, the light increases. The process, method and practice (anusthana) is clearly practicing the seven prerequisite component limbs of yoga which leads to the penultimate culmination of union, samadhi. It is through astanga yoga that tha occlusions and blockages of consciousness and prana are purified and removed so that consciousness can irrigate and be recognized in All Our Relations .

As a key method in astanga yoga, viveka-khyateh is a revealing awareness which deals with what appears at first as extrinsic objects that appear to possess concrete form (simple differentiated awareness), but as the yoga practice develops so too does this extrinsic awareness which further opens the door to realizing how the mind projects these labels upon the so called "extrinsic world" and hence illuminating the true non-dual nature of our own mind as an extension of primordial consciousness -- the extension of consciousness into life, the body, existence and the universe or better its recognition as the way it-is-as samadhi in as swarupa-sunyam (see III.3), then we understand that light of wisdom which is both simultaneously inside and outside as all pervading.

Viveka-khyateh leads to the realization of all things in relationship as they truly are within an intimate experiential context with the whole -- as a coherent holographic components -- as the unity of relative truth and absolute truth. In yoga, viveka-khyateh is to be applied to that integrative continuous realization of samadhi (the crown of astanga yoga) both as practice and as All Our Relations. Hence astanga yoga leads naturally to samadhi.

A wise practice exercises viveka-khyater and at the same time viveka-khyater potentiates a wise practice, hence they act as mutual synergists. As such in beginning yoga practice we invoke "mindfulness", breath awareness, self study, ahimsa, energy awareness, awareness of the contents of the mind, while later the mature practice self liberates in naked awareness -- Now consciousness, revealing the true nature of mind and existence as one harmonious whole -- in Sat-Chit-Ananda - Pure Being, Pure Consciousness, and Unequalled Great Bliss.

Here we are rediscovering the inherent intrinsic wisdom light in differentiated reality by acknowledging and extending that light (prajna) inside the human vehicle into the extrinsic relative world of form via astanga yoga. By "re"discovering,`it is assumed that this is our true unconditioned state of primordial consciousness before negative programming knowing itself. The practice is to illumine and act in mutual harmony with that same universal light which exists inside our own bodies and within all of creation. Hence astanga merely wakes us up from forgetfulness -- clearing away the clouds (vrtti, klesa, samskaras). Hence yoga is an awareness process which begets even more awareness, both amplifying our understanding of existence and our own mind/mental states at the same time, until NOW awareness shines through in All Our Relations.

The movement being toward revealing that mutuality between purusa and prakrti -- between consciousness and being -- between Cit and Sat -- between the mind and the body -- between spirit and nature at each and every turn. Thus at each stage in the process, samadhi is increasingly approximated, aligned with, and attuned toward, communed with and integrated. In this higher vision (khyati) of viveka, cit is brought together and merges with differentiated reality. here cit (pure consciousness) and sat (pure beingness) are brought together as a mutuality a unity. In reality or truth they are not separate. They only appear separate because of the delusion of being separate entities (egos). This awareness grows with the reactionary of astanga yoga. Each limb/component of astanga yoga work together as a mutually synergistic whole.

Practice: For example in posture and hatha yoga practice. there is a union between conscious awareness and the various parts (limbs) of the body in terms of both an internal ecology within the body and the body's stance with gravity, the earth, and the universe (nature). Here body, breath, nature, and mind merge as an integrated integrity or whole. A mutual relationship is realized between the yam/niyams (ahimsa), the breath (pranayama), pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana, and samadhi through that one limb alone. The same goes for the practice of the other limbs such as but especially pratyhara dharana (visualization and mudras), pratyhara, pranayama, dhyana -- a unitive relationship is eventually revealed between consciousness and beingness (Cit and Sat) in satchitananda in All Our Relations including the yams/niyams.

For example in an asana practice one will be able to place their awareness at first on the body, the breath, specific movements, and their internal activators as well as antagonists. This brings the practitioner in synch with the nervous system and focuses the attention so that a synergistic alignment between body, breath, mind, emotions, and the internal energy all can come together as a frictionless unit thus accomplishing asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana together. When the awareness of the intelligence behind the life energy (prana-shakti) becomes revealed then one can allow that intelligence not only to move the body but also reveal her ultimate partner siva, who is after all the consummate instructor of yoga. Such is one example where astanga yoga asana practice can be utilized with viveka. Hence the hatha yogi learns how to open to that light and contain it and evolutionary energy more continuously. Then the yogi can manifest/express it the more he/she acts as its fit container and vehicle on all levels and dimensions including the earth plane.

As understood in samkhya philosophy viveka is often defined within a limited way as a discriminating awareness or the discernment process that uses comparison and/or reductionist methods as an analytical process within a dualistic context, where an object is analyzed in isolation from the whole; i.e., separated and made distinct. Taken to its extreme that process results in an incomplete and fragmented comparison (already described) lacking integrity and universal context. Such an analytical and mechanistic approach is merely the result of the action of the intellect (buddhi), albeit the power of the intellect emanates from mahat and prakrti. In that sense, that awareness, is a severely limited definition of viveka. That is not the same integrative yogic wisdom which is defined by Patanjali and is experienced in astanga yoga as a yogic wisdom. The famous saying, neti-neti, of the jnani yogi, is not a statement of exclusivity, but rather total integration. Only in the very beginning processes of discriminatory awareness, is it useful to recognize samyoga (false identifications), asmita (egoic mindsets), conditioning, negative mental habits, modifications of mind-field (citta-vrtta), and other kleshic activities (hindrances and obstructions).

Rather in the yogic sense, viveka, is an integrative wisdom where phenomena and objects are acknowledged and compared in relationship to everything else (sarva vivekinah) -- within the sacred framework of a profound interdependent mutuality where there is no separate independent "thingness" that can stand independent or isolated from the whole in reality. Thus in astanga yoga, viveka is not to be confused with merely an intellectual, analytical, reductionist, or comparative process of the intellect (buddhi), rather its true nature has to acknowledged. Basic awareness is a first step leading to viveka as that application of pure awareness that notices, watches, and observes form. objects, movement, phenomena, and mind in terms of the functioning of the mind. Viveka, as distinct from the individual mentational processes of the intellect ( buddhi) is a transconceptual open inquiry that observes what is happening with the citta-vrtti without imposing any further philosophical frameworks, reference points, words, values, comparative analysis, conceptual frameworks, or judgment. In the mountain yogi tradition phenomena (all things) are understood in context as-it-is -- in terms of the whole, and as such, the eight limbs are approached in this light. In asana practice, this approach opens up dead and numbed out spots in the body/mind. It awakens the body, breath, mind, energy, and wisdom bodies. In pranamaya practice this brings about the mutuality between the breath, the energy body, the physical body, the emotions, mental states, belief system, and reality (the natural unconditioned unitive breath of jnana prana or kevala kumbhaka. Similarly for all the limbs where consciousness meets form -- where cit and sat merge as in cit-sakti. Where there is a lack of consciousness, there is a lack of energy. Where there is an absence or suppression of energy, there is the absence or suppression of consciousness.

This presentation is thus a living systems approach where apparently independent "things" or parts are known in a profound relationship, versus isolation. Things are known correctly (as-it-is) by understanding also how the mind perceives "things", hence the correction of relativity is applied offsetting bias and narrow mindedness.

For example how is it that you, the reader, know the created world of things and beings? First one apprehends sense objects, through the sense organs, then it is "interpreted. If the interpretation is colored by pramana or any other of the citta-vrtti, then one will come up with a distorted picture - a misapprehension. How could you analyze the object accurately without some outside information? Like you could taste it, smell it squeeze it, observe its various qualities, compare it with other objects, take it apart, and so forth, but your knowledge of the object would remain limited and biased, be it a shooting star or finger if perceived in thee manners. However if you placed your sense organs in alignment with its intrinsic beginningless seed source origin so that the all pervasive transpersonal inner light inside recognizes itself inside all beings and things, then the manifold diversity of the many is seen as-it-is within the timeless universality of the one. All things not being the same, but being themselves are truly known and experienced simultaneously as they truly are as you experience who you truly are. This is then the process of first going to Universal Source and coming from Universal Source (origin) of both self and all objects and thus knowing things in such a relationship.

So here viveka-khyateh is a extended wisdom (extended from intrinsic natural wisdom or prajna)- a heightened form of viveka which is differentiated consciousness put into service to help us realize Self in terms of everything else - as a samadhi where intrinsic undifferentiated reality and extrinsic differentiated wisdom merge as one --where purusa and prakrti are integrated as one larger wholistic mutuality of consciousness and being (siva/shakti) so that in every action, word, and thought we walk the path of beauty and harmony forever. This power is strengthened through practicing astanga yoga. Eventually we realize that undifferentiated awareness and differentiated awareness conjoin as sarva-jnanam.

In Raj yoga (the Yoga of Patanjali) the word, thus viveka is brought to sublime subtilization where all intellectual activity (vikalpa) is stilled -- all citta vrtti dissolved. Dhyana is not an intellectual inquiry utilizing anumana (inference) or conceptual speculations (vikalpa), but rather it is naked awareness. an attentive mindfulness, and an NOW awareness which is repeatedly visited, applied, and ripened in astanga yoga and especially meditation (dhyana) practice (sadhana). Thus in the yoga context, viveka is developed to a very sharp point through abhyasa (consistent or repeated practice over time) combined with vairagya (non-attachment to the point of a-vrtti-virodha) so that the normal dualistic mental processes (citta-vrtti) does not become stirred up, further distracted, stray, become fixated, or dissipated upon objects of thought or phenomena, but rather ceases.

As an example let us look at how this works in asana practice (the third limb). Rather than take a movement apart into its constituent parts, let us see it in terms on how the movement is integrated with all its parts taken as a fluid whole, with the breath, the emotions, the energy, the marmas, nadis, chakras, subtle body, and wisdom body. In a body posture, there will be observed a pre-existing locked in tightness or rigidity due to an energetic pattern, conditioning process, or imprint (samskara) or vasana having been locked in place. This way old karmic patterns are also burned up as new evolutionary circuits are energized.

When we bring conscious awareness into a specific area of the body (for example by calling in conscious breathing or pranayama as an aid as well as visualization) this awareness of the part connects with the brain, the awareness of witness consciousness (purusa) connects with prakrti (nature), the body part is transformed from being foggy, gray, dead, disconnected, and numb to being alive, conscious, energized and connected. This is the result of brining cit (or awareness) into the area and with it the cit-shakti, the cit-prana, and/or prana shakti which energizes the region and brings back into harmony with the rest of the system. Here we apply the awareness (viveka) into an area and listen for responses (signals) in awareness. we are thus informed by the awareness response, as much as the awareness informs the process in the beginning. Hence the practice becomes a play of light, consciousness, life energy, consciousness, and nature which brings conscious union/integration or yoga between self and nature, consciousness and being, undifferentiated consciousness with differentiated consciousness, ultimate realty with relative reality, crown (sahasrara) and root (muladhara).

Likewise in simple pranayama (the fourth limb) as we place awareness of each nuance of the breath, its relationship with the ribs, diaphragm, nervous system, neuro-physiology, emotions, air, and nature become more finely refined and interconnected. This differentiated awareness helps us eventually connect up with the Great Continuum.

In dhyana, which is the seventh limb immediately preceding samadhi, it is not unusual to experience that after applying viveka (awareness) to the wanderings of the citta-vrtti (monkey mind) alongside with vairagya, that the habit of following the monkey mind in its multiple wayward discursions and dissipations becomes entirely disrupted. Buddha defeated Mara in his meditation under the Bodhi Tree. Then the meditator releases all constructed thought patterns, imputations of the mind, and its vectors via spontaneous vairagya. Thus these recurring patterns of the citta-vrtti having ceased for increasingly longer periods of time, eventually the requisite space for primordial consciousness arises naturally and becomes more continuously present. Through viveka, one recognizes -- is aware -- that the mind has wandered or has become dull. This affords the opportunity for the meditator to refocus on the meditation again in pure NOW awareness -- for the beginner that simply means watching and observing in pure naked awareness bringing the monkey mind back to the space of unitive wholeness should it wander.

Thus through consistent dhyana practice one learns to abide in the light of pure NOW awareness more continuously and consistently. Viveka matures in profound spiritual realization - viveka-khyateh, which is itself a means to the final completion (kaivalya). A synergistic and profound balance and harmony between vairagya and viveka is attained and eventually more sattvic patterns are activated giving rise to a recognition of new more expansive horizons -- a greater all inclusive and intrinsic awareness which existed underneath the winds and agitations of "normal" coarse discursive mentations (citta-vrtti), but was occluded by it self arises.

Through the following eight limbed (astanga) practice this process of awakening is greatly enhanced as yoga is integrated in All Our Relations.

Through practice we start knowing more directly about non-dual "Self" and the process of conscious awakening itself. Such a practice (astanga yoga) in itself is self revealing. In authentic yoga, thus the fruit is known experientially, i.e., the practice itself produces the spiritual experience which is the fruit, rather than in some other systems the approach is rather through gathering external knowledge "about" the experience and then attempting to mimic that, but that way the authentic experience itself most often remains elusive and enigmatic.

Here through authentic yogic practice (sadhana) the impurities and afflictions that occlude the vision of truth are destroyed allowing the immanent and intrinsic self effulgent awareness to shine forth from within in mutual recognition and affirmation. WE become brighter as the world becomes luminous/illumined --as we abide in transpersonal Self.

See Sutras II. 15 and II.26 for more on viveka.


II. 29. yama-niyama-asana-pranayama-pratyhara-dharana-dhyana-samadhayo'stav-angani

The eight limbs (asta angani) of yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. [They work as mutual synergists together in order to create a beneficial momentous whole.]

Commentary: The eight (asta) limbs (angas) are mutually synergistic to each other forming a natural spontaneous expression when customized to the sadhak's constitution, karma, conditions, or circumstances. Through the practice of astanga yoga the components are revealed to reflect an overall wholistic integrated relationship. As each component becomes mutually aligned and attuned to each to the other an effective practice (sadhana) unfolds which self illumines and liberates the path. The eight limbs and how they interact will be detailed below.


II. 30. Ahimsa-satya-asteya-brahmacarya-aparigraha yamah

Non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), integrity (asteya), continuous dedication to creator/creation (brahmacharya), and nonattachment (aparigraha) effect this great vow and commitment to awaken (yama).

Commentary:  Simply put yama means death, or putting the end to an activity, Niyama means the end of death, or rebirth. This is generally taken that yams are more basic than the niyams, the niyams are more proactive (positive) – they are built upon the base of yam, then niyam is  going further beyond yam. The end or death which is referred to here, is the cessation of ignorance (avidya) or suffering (duhkha). When the yams and niyams are perfected, then the falling back into states of suffering is eliminated.

Certainly yam and niyam are not moral code in the Western religious sense where if one obeys certain laws one will be rewarded and if they disobey they will be punished. So for a moralist or a follower of EXTERNAL discipline such as a book, bible, scripture, external authority or  authority figure (agama or sruti) they follow external dictates and have faith in these belief systems. Such is the antithesis of yoga. Yoga is not based on external laws coming from an external authority (as Patanjali has clearly said in I.7 and I, 49), rather functional yoga connects us directly to our intrinsic wisdom (prajna) and thus the yams having helped lead us there, we require no other direction other than from this innate (internal) light. Rather than to obey external dictates,  Patanjali says that isvara is the intrinsic seed consciousness found within.  Patanjali teaches to find that inside and then one KNOWS what to do and why. Hence yoga is self empowering -- which is quite the opposite of external morals. In that sense when we act from that heart/core awareness with full integrity and wisdom such transcends far beyond following moral dictates obtained through external sources of authority. In the former all our activities and thoughts  come together as a spontaneous expression of that realization.

That is one result of yoga -- it's a process of reversing the wheel of samsaric existence first on a personal basis, then once liberated. on a transpersonal plane for the benefit of all beings. The yams take both situations (samsaric and liberated (nirvanic) into consideration at the same time. So with the yams niyams as well as asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana we practice to achieve that natural expression/proficiency. That is authentic sadhana according to Sri Patanjali being as we are in Sadhana Pada.

Yams are often mistranslated into English as restraints or moral codes such as activities that are forbidden or are sinful, thus conjuring up fear of punishment, negative motivation, or elements of repression. Although a common interpretation, this is not the efficient way of practicing yama. Rather than as a restraint, negative, restriction, or limitation, the yams are the unbounded natural unleashing of Divine will and moral courage -- the true law as a celebration of Boundless Self.

As we shall see "yama is" the a great vow (mahavrata) to attain enlightenment (samadhi) -- when we realize our true nature swarupa-sunyam). It is like a gate to the hell realms that has been closed, or the holes on a leaky vessel which have become stopped, so that the vessel is capable of holding its nectar. It is like sealing a bottle of magical perfume so that its essence no longer is diffused or lost.

At first, the novice yogi begins by eliminating activities which are distractive toward that aim. One puts an end (yama) to such dissipative or dissuasive tendencies, eventually avidya is destroyed -- direct insight shines through increasingly. Here Sri Patanjali identifies the chief five yamas (activities to cease) which lead to disparate fragmentation (disintegration/corruption), while functional yoga leads to harmony and integration. Hence the yams form the basis for the great binding together that is astanga yoga. We will see in the next few sutras that yams are designed to reverse or remediate dissipative tendencies. They create open free space and energy when the momentum of the wheel of samsara is slowed down or ceases to turn. This relates to "punya" (meritorious action) as found in Sutra II.14. Punya does not mean good or meritorious per se, but rather punya is action that reverses unfortunate karma and hence the wheel of samsara is disrupted. We will see the same idea expressed by pratipaksa-bhavanam in Sutras II.33-35 below. The yams thus like all the component limbs of astanga yoga are designed to liberate the practitioner from the wheel of life and death (samsara).

My teachers said that there were to be found an inner meaning and an outer meaning, a gross, subtle, and secret meaning involving body, speech, and mind to all the yam and niyam. For example with ahimsa it is not just refraining from hurting others, but also not hurting oneself. It is not just refraining from harm, but removing harm. That is effected in speech, action, and in thought reflecting an integrative transpersonal truth.

Similarly with satya; satya is not just refraining from telling lies to others, but more so the inner meaning is to stop lying to oneself (to end self deceit and delusional game playing ). That is the heightened form of satya, as a yam, to stop lying to oneself and others as a reflection of an integrative truth -- as a method to become allied with THAT. Some of this can be very subtle, but the  outer and inner meanings of the yams and niyams have universal application.

Yamas are the elimination of activities that hinder our progress in yoga as well as the taking up of positive activities. Hence the yams act as a seal of dissipations and energy leaks. This empowers the rest of our practice in many ways. If they are wisely considered and given up while their opposite qualities are nourished, then our progress will flow more smoothly and quickly.

Chief among these yamas is ahimsa (non-violence). Ahimsa is . the removal of violence from our own life as well as others where we learn to honor the life force in our self as well as recognizing and respecting that in others (taken in the transpersonal non-dual sense in which the two are really one). The second yama is satya (truthfulness) being the removal of the veils of deceit and falsehood from our lives including that of self deceit. Then follows asteya as honesty, non-stealing, non-exploitation of others, and integrity in All Our Relations. Then brahmacharya (continuity, centeredness, wedded-ness, or one pointedness to the all inclusive weave of "Source" which is a harmony and union in true Integrity while not allowing oneself to be distracted from the spiritual goal. Lastly aparigraha, which is non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-envy, non-attachment, letting go, non-false identification penetrating throughout the mind in meditation as well as in All Our Relations as the simplification of our life so that we are better able to focus on the spiritual goal latent in every moment).

"Yamas and niyamas all have their root in ahimsa (not harming living beings); their aim is to perfect this love that we ought to have for all creatures..." From the "Yogasutra-bhashya" 2.30, by Vyasa, the oldest commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, trsl. by J. Varenne, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976
This is more than subtle. Since everybody on the planet has caused some harm to other living things in some form, the spiritual truth that ahimsa points to is simply move in that direction -- to more deeply commune and inter-connect with the practices of non-violence, not harming others or self, and actually removing harm to others (healing) and self especially in the transpersonal sense where "the other" and the self are one in our daily actions so that balance and continuity in our authentic yoga practice is accelerated and realized. Thus bringing ahimsa into our lives is a healing action for "Self" as others, bringing less harm and abuse into our own lives, while promoting healing and well beingness.

Yama is commonly mis-translated as being similar to external Western moral dictums, proscriptions, codes, standards, and laws, such as if you break such written or externalized rules, one then becomes punished. Conversely follow these rules and one is rewarded and goes to heaven. Such are goal oriented rules which reflect a system of future reward and punishment.

But there this is not what Patanjali means by the word, yama. No where does Patanjali hint upon Divine retribution, vengeance, or punishment. Rather yam/niyam are the first two limbs of ashtanga yoga and as such are practices that lead to samadhi. As such they are offered up as guidelines or suggestions in a "take it or leave it" attitude where one may practice any of the limbs be they yama, niyama, asana, or pranayama, or ahimsa, or dharana, or any other sadhana. Patanjali is stating clearly that all of the limbs taken together for the mutually synergistic practice of ashtanga yoga which is designed to lead one to samadhi. Patanjali had already stated in Pada One that yoga eventually leads to the activation of the inner seed bearing wisdom (rtambhara), and is not even close to a process of placating an externalized God or authoritative system nor conforming to external dictums.

The main difference between Western moral systems on one hand and yama/niyama on the other hand is that for the average Westerner, God wrote a list (external book) of commandments, which if not followed lead to sin; while the yogis comprised a list of practices which if practiced in a coordinated manner lead synergistically to the ability to see and read the inner law which ultimately leads to liberation. Thus the road to salvation for the yogi is not found in some old external books or words, it is not found in obeying rules per se, nor is it found in conformity and obsequiousness at all; but rather yam/niyam are indicators of that state of Divine union. They are only tools (as opposed to absolute imperatives) which develop increased sensitivity, awareness, inner wisdom, and which activates one's inherent creative power.

The laws of the universe can only be distantly approximated by written words let alone rules, as such they are not the logos itself. just as there is a huge difference between a map and the territory. The laws of the universe can not be written down in words, but rather they must be realized in our intimate participation. then as that Divine union (yoga) is integrated they are then naturally realized and manifested in our daily life -- within our very heart as our Heart identity -- in All Our Relations

It is rather a serious distraction to follow anything external to one's true Self or heart. Belief in external rules or ideologies are what the vrtti of pramana are composed of and as such they lead toward kleshas, not the least are aversion, pride, and prejudice. They are an obstruction put between us and the divine. That curtain must also be melted and annihilated.

Thus from a yogic perspective, yam/niyam are not ends or goals in themselves, nor are they rules nor proscriptions in the Western sense, but merely remedial processes designed to help move us into realization of the inner eternal law (Sanatana Dharma) of the Heart -- the authentic goal of yoga. This constitutes the true nature of the Great Vow (Mahavrata)

The following yam/niyam are discussed in greater length elsewhere, but briefly a few points may serve clarity. Yam and niyam work synergistically. As indicators of the Divine union of the aligned primordial man (called Adam Kadmon in the Kabala) or Jivamuktan, they all are pointers pointing to the same "reality" -- they are corollaries to the same grand underlying Great Integrity of All Our Relations which are revealed through effective yogic practice. As a two way street they become naturally expressed as the result of tasting or abiding within non-dual unity consciousness, and similarly when they are practiced with purity they also lead us to that realization. As such they can act as guides. They are practiced with body, speech, and more importantly with mind and intention, and they contain both gross and subtle levels -- both inner (antar) and outer practices.

They are powerful in identifying and remediating wayward tendencies and activities of the body, speech, and thought. For example using this scheme, Brahmacharya practiced in thought, regardless of the external activity, is far more powerful and beneficial than gross Brahmacharya practiced physically, but without Brahmacharya of mind. This way they are not restraints in the ordinary sense of the word, because there becomes no "bad" tendency to restrain. This is not to say that it is beneficial to act upon random compulsions, the afflictions of the mind (kleshas), out of bad habits or tendencies (samskaras and vasana), neurotic tendencies, lust, greed, selfishness, ignorance, aversion, and the like; but rather it is far better to remediate the Heart/Mind of these wayward tendencies for example through realizing the fruit which underlies the synergistic application and practice of all the limbs of yoga.

If we consider the word, yama, it can be defined as the end, as yama is the god of death. From the Yoga Sutras we learn that the death of one is actually an affirmation and birth of another. Although uncommon, one may break down the word, yama, in an unconventional way; an meaning that which moves, while ma represents the mother principle -- nature's/creation's nurturing principle. Thus in this analysis yama means to bring forth and nurture into fruition by moving with the nurturing principle. Naturally when one activity ends, then there is energy freed to go into another direction. Death in one sense is an illusion, while really things morph and change; i.e., there is rebirth and constant change. Only if "things" could be frozen in time, would "death" exist, but we learn that time as well as death then, is an illusion.

Thus in this way (like all the other limbs) yama does not have to be seen as a negative, a restraint, or even a willful practice; but rather as a natural surrender, as natural LOVE shining forth -- thus as a positive affirmation. In this sense then ahimsa does not mean to restrain violence, but rather to remove violence and suffering as well as it's remnants (such as samskaras). As such it is a healing affirmation that not only removes suffering but brings forth happiness. Ahimsa brings forth healing, kindness, gentleness, and love not only into our own lives and that of "others" but into/from the profound realization of our True Self -- of the unconditional happiness that comes from the realization of the unconditional/natural truth. So only in the larger sense the yams are more than a counteractant to an opposite tendency, but rather they herald in and affirm the underlying unity of All Our Relations.

Satya thus does not mean to restrain deceit as much as to bring forth Truth; i.e., to remove falsehood, confusion, illusion, delusion, and ignorance. It is not so concerned with "telling the truth" externally as much as it is in its inner (antar) esoteric meaning of removing the ingrained samskaras which support self deceit and conceit. Thus satya when practiced with the body, speech, and mind in All Our Relations becomes a profound transformational practice.

Brahmacharya is to reveal, acknowledge, and act in accordance with the eternal inner eternal teacher in All Our Relations. In All Our Relations we are wedded to Brahma and Brahma in All Our Relations. Brahmacharya is practiced thus not as a restraint of the body, but within the integration of the body, speech, and mind as an affirmation of a creative way of life in harmony with the laws of creation (Brahma).

Asteya and aparigraha are not only to eliminate exploitation, contradiction, deceit, self dishonesty, greed, attachment, and selfishness, but to act to promote integrity, honesty, generosity, trust, abundance, fulfillment, and gratefulness, contentment, and clarity in All Our Relations -- body, speech, and especially with an integrated HeartMind.


The Great Vow: Be Good! Remediating the Blockage and Repression of Divine Will and Moral Courage

II. 31. Jati-desa-kala-samaya-anavacchinnah sarva-bhauma maha-vratam

[Applying these yams] on all occasions and situations (sarva bhaumah), to all (sarva) and in all, regardless of birth, species, (jati) as an all encompassing bond in all conjunctions (samaya), at all times (kala), in all places and realms (desa), and without limitations or exceptions (anavacchinah) will turn the tide effecting closure of and sealing off the great gate of death and dissolution (mahavrata). [Thus sealing this gate, the base of yoga is secured].

sarva: all

Sarva-bhauma: Universal culture. All dimensions. Universal and limitless world systems. All pervading to be applied to all things, beings, and events. Beyond limit as to culture, place, or time.

kala: time

jati: birth

maha: great

vratam: behavior, commitment, bond, practice, aspiration, binding, seal, gate, aspiration, or intention

mahavrata: The great aspiration, vow or seal of the gate. Originally vratam refers to one's behavior, practice, intent, bond, commitment, dedication, or aspiration, but more recently in the dualistic Kali Yuga, it has become associated with a religious vow, determination, or commitment. Mahavratam refers to the yams in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as the supportive base, where the dissipative leaks and psycho-energetic distractions have become sealed and rested, downfalls are remediated, and the attack of noxious influences are sealed against (as the yams are perfected). This is a state of being, not an act of will-power or self-restraint. It reflects the experiential state where egoic obscurations have become liberated.

anavaccheda: unlimited. infinite. unbound, boundless, unbroken

samaya: commitment, seal, conjunction, connection, or protective seal. Especially in tantra, samaya concerns the more inner and subtle practices, especially sustaining the connection with the teachings/teachers. Although the body, speech, and mind are united in one intent, it is the mental and energetic areas which are considered more causal and capable of being worked on directly. Since most beginners are still engaged in the coarse mental worlds, then the samaya is first gross and later becomes refined and more subtle. For example, one can first start off by removing harmful actions of the body by inhibiting meat eating, restraining harming others physically, opposing war, etc., and then over time (kala) the mental framework will occur where the desire to harm is completely replaced by the compassionate desire to remove harm and suffering. Strengthening the intent seals the situation so it will not deteriorate. Inner intent is most powerful and causal, but more efficacious than that is the actual opening up of the channels (connection points) in All Our Relations .

Commentary: Mahavratam is the facilitation of the Great Binding together, the completion and sealing of the great sacred hoop/circle, the acknowledgement of the harmonious non-dual and transpersonal unity that binds all beings and things together, that WE truly are in Reality (should we chose reality over falsehood). Human beings naturally want to embody love, ahimsa, compassion, truth, divine will, but because of negative conditioning (such as vasana, samskara, karma, klesha) the mindfield (citta-vrtti) has become fragmented and perverted. Instead as a negation, this great vow is an affirmation or aspiration of great intent. It sets the stage, foundation, and basis for psycho energetic alignment and success in yoga. Mahavrata is a unifying/integrating force. Hence the base of the eight limbed (astanga) tree is sealed, providing support for the rest of the practices through the mahavratam (great seal). In another sense the yam/niyams provide the support at the base of the tree, thus insuring success for all other limbs. Thus in that way, yama supports the practice of astanga yoga eventually resulting in samadhi.

The yam/niyams reveal the powerful path o that closes the gate of suffering and samsaric rebirth, by opening up the pre-existing disrupted connection with primordial true nature of Self (swarupa-sunyam). The yam/niyam have the power to end the sorrow of cyclic existence when embraced in this context. When this divine pulsation coming from Primordial Ceaseless Self is blocked or repressed, then all sorts of maladies follow. The yam/niyams are derived from Santana Dharma, natural law. Acting upon the yams is the embodiment of moral courage -- righteous action. It can not be successfully imitated, memorized, or imitated, rather it forms the basis of the true law as in karma yoga, and as surrender, dedication, devotion, and love as in bhakti yoga. Similarly, in raj yoga (astanga yoga) it forms the basis for success, sealing any distractive or dissipative leaks which may be capable of leading the yogin astray.

The yams form the seat of astanga yoga thus providing a firm base for the other limbs. Here the outgoing gate of distraction and dissipation is sealed and closed -- the wheel of cyclic existence (samsara) which causes suffering (which is the realm of the god, yama,) is reversed. This closely corresponds to the hatha yoga bandha activities which are applied to specific gates affecting the granthis (psychic knots) corresponding to the various lokas (spiritual realms). There the outflowings are reversed. So it is with the yams, they reverse the ways of suffering and karma and act as the base for success in hatha yoga. This great vow is thus the vow to become liberated from samsara and ascend to samadhi where all will be revealed. Without the yams, there is no success in yoga. See Sutras 33-34 below.

Here, the gate to the hell realms (guarded by the god Yama) has been closed. The leaks of a ship at sea has become stopped. The holes of a vase have become fixed. The nectar no longer leaks out and dissipates. The fruits of astanga yoga do not degrade. The ambrosia of the medicine bottle holding magical perfume, no longer is diffused or lost. The yogi no longer becomes distracted, dissipated, or defiled. The yams and niyams are the containers of the essence of the expression of yoga in body, mind, and speech.

Hence it is especially important to emphasize that the yamas and niyams are NOT moral codes in the Western sense, but are both practices and natural HeartMind expressions. They are not to be confused with conforming to manmade codes, obeying belief systems or their dictates, mechanical willful abeyance, nor conforming to book-knowledge, scripture, legal or religious codes as a means to amass personal merit and gain, spiritual credit, or achieve a distant far off "other worldly" goal in future time. It does not mean conformity to "conventional wisdom", peer pressure, political correctness, external standards, or mores, but rather true moral courage, which comes from our essential/heart-core nature; i.e., the willingness and ability to live a life of integrity in harmony with natural universal law by honoring the universal life force in All Our Relations. Natural universal law (Sanatana Dharma) is continuous and unbroken as-it-is. It must be acknowledged, honored, and respected, but many human beings living in a degenerate age and consumerist culture have lost sight of it. When mental falsehood, deception, delusion, and obscuration are removed then moral courage will be naturally be expressed again. Thus, true morale and creative enthusiasm will necessarily result.

Therefore, it is not a coincidence that the first yam, is ahimsa. Ahimsa is the basis of the yams and niyams, because it is the human being's most fundamental momentum. In the context of pure virtue (uncontrived natural and unconditioned bodhicitta), to be good means not to harm others or oneself. For those who have become desensitized and through negative programming the removal of the obscurations (kleshas) may be gradual, while requiring effort to understand and apply; but after practice with the other limbs of yoga as mutual synergists, this happens naturally and spontaneously as an innate manifestation of that great aforesaid inherent wisdom. By acting in alignment with our true nature (virtually) an alignment with the inner/outer teacher is established -- the seed essence of the psycho-physical body is aligned with the cosmic primordial seed. This relationship becomes developed naturally through authentic yoga practice.

Thus at the essence nature of the yams, the essence of all the other yoga practices can be found. Their essence can be applied in all other yoga practices as well and at all times (kala), places (desa), levels (bhaumah) or circumstances through maintaining inner conviction (samaya) regardless of status or birth. (jati). Their meaning is revealed in all authentic spiritual practices. They are multi-layered having inner and outer, subtle and coarse, mental and physical meanings and connotations which are revealed through practice (versus analytical reasoning, speculation, rationalizing, or discursive thought). Their essence is universal and inter-dimensional (sarvabhauma) and includes no limitations (annavacchinnah) of time (kala), place (desa), or level (jati), rather it integrates us in every dimension of being (samaya). Taking up such a powerful all inclusive practice in All Our Relations completes the great circle and makes us whole -- it celebrates the Great Binding Together (maha-vratam).

Maha-vratam also indicates that the practice of the yams eliminate the outflow and distractions of the cit-prana, freedom from distraction and nescience, and focus one-pointed concentration upon integrity and vidya. Maha-vratam seals the gate of creating more bad karma (acting on nescience) - it seals all leaks and possible downfalls. Thus maha-vratam also refers to our awakening to the deathless universal consciousness which is eternally omni-present.

Thus the yams seal the outward leading gates of death and rebirth, which lead one into states of ignorance and suffering. As stated above, when we seal an energy leak in one direction, when we are freed from the knee jerk activity of neurotic dualistic behavior, then there is energy freed to go into another direction. Death only exists as an illusion -- in terms of fragmentation, while in the larger scope of REALITY, things morph and change; i.e., there is rebirth and constant change. Since it is an illusion to think that things by themselves can be frozen in space and time, then "death" as a thing also is non-existent. Again time as well as death then, is an illusion, caused by the rigid tendency of objectivity to artificially freeze and lock the frames of life as if life was like a movie screen where the projector became frozen.

The yam, Brahmacharya, easily breaks down etymologically as, "the evolutionary life force is the teacher" or commonly the "evolutionary generative/regenerative fatherly force teaches". By recognizing that in all our relations brings forth virya, as we honor and respect it in all our relations. There is no mention of ordinary sex or its repression in the Yoga Sutras, none; albeit every situation/doorway within the hologram (of samadhi) is unique (sexual relations such as in coitus is neither ruled out nor required). Rather the important thing is that Brahmacharya requires our complete attention.

In order to understand the Sanskrit word, Brahmacharya, one has to first understand who/what is meant by Brahma. What do you think? Is Brahma a specific aspect of the trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) and if so does Brahma represent the creative/evolutionary force? If not, who/what is Brahma? I think the yogin has to undertake an inquiry into Brahma and come up with an answer that makes sense to oneself experientially. Thus understanding the relationships between Brahma (the force of evolution) and virya (strength and courage) is a key that unlocks this sutra. It is clear that Brahma creates life and in that way is its essential sustainer, while paying attention to the evolutionary life force as a teacher and/or remaining connected (as like a chariot) brings one strength and courage (virya). If one loses this connection, the chariot breaks away from the horse and virya fades.

This is where complete attention to integrity (asteya) comes into the picture as the sutra that immediately precedes this sutra on Brahmacharya. This is essential for experiencing union and knowledge beyond linear systems of time. Appropriately, in the Sutra immediately following Brahmacharya (II.39), Swami Venkatesananda translates the Sutra on Aparigraha as:

"When the inner light of intelligence illumines the state of mind that has firmly rejected all greed and there is contentment with what life brings unsolicited, there arises knowledge of the mysteries of life and its why and how."

In the sense of being the force associated with creation, in that limited sense, Brahma has often been associated with the Vedic god, Prajapati (the primal father-God or creator whose consort is Gayatri. It is in that sense that Brahma may be interpreted as having something to do with pro-creation, and or the union pf siva/shakti, but Patanjali never speaks about that directly.

Let us not forget that the Yoga Sutras were written many hundreds of years before the establishment of the Swami order. There were no Swamis in Patanjali's day and the present day monkish/sannyasin vows did not exist. Hence, sannyasin vows did not exist in yoga during Patanjali's day, nor was yoga a religious institution. I bring these historical facts up, simply to provide context as to what Patanjali was referring to as Brahmacharya and what modern day institutions may interpret him as saying. Certainly, there is much reading-in going on. I have made an effort NOT to read-in value systems that were created far after the Yoga Sutras were written nor am I reading-in non-yogic value systems, both of which tend to co-opt or hijack Patanjali's profound and subtle meanings.

Again, all the limbs that are outlined in the Yoga Sutras, including all the yams/niyams, reflect a singular experience of union/oneness on all levels. The practices help us connect to this timeless holographic matrix. WE are Thee, when the connection is kept open!

Yams and niyams are practices which are based on the Divine indicators of samadhi -- of the perfect yogic synergistic alignment of body, mind, evolutionary force, cosmos, and source. Thus they act as guideposts and dharanas of contemplation. They aid in cleaning out the karmic residues and dysfunctional mental habits, as well as bringing us into a sympathetic/empathic vibratory resonance with samadhi (swarupa-sunyam). They wash the bloodied hands of the bad blood and karma already spilled, as well as that which would be spilled and wasted in the future. Thus yam/niyam not only seal the gate of distracted and dissipated consciousness and energy (chit-prana), but move also activate the innate light of the inner wisdom activating our dormant evolutionary potential, the kundalini -- they help us see the universal Love in All Our Relations. They set us straight, refresh, and empower us as if standing under a pristine waterfall on a scorching hot day. If we are not in that refreshed situation of ecstatic spirited love, then we can be certain that a vrtti or a klesha is operational blocking or distorting our innate clear vision. Be certain that the yams/niyams simultaneously point toward and reflect unrequited and pure love in All Our Relations. Pure love!

Here the yam/niyams point to the one non-dual truth of All Our Relations where there is no separate self, no separate object, no ego delusion (asmita), no ignorance, rather just Eternal Self reincarnating/manifesting in infinite forms. Practicing the yams puts an end to the downward spiral of pain filled (duhkha) cyclic existence (samsara), coarseness, ignorance, violence, etc. In our translation we use the word, sanatana dharma, literally as the eternal law, "Reality" as-it-is without artificial contrivation or relative bias contaminated by dualistic subject/object limitations -- not as a statement of any one religion, doctrine, ideology, philosophy, or moral system.

II. 32. sauca-samtosa-tapah-svadhyaya-isvara-pranidhanani niyamah

Niyama consist of saucha (purity), santosha (contentment and peacefulness), tapas (spiritual passion and fire), swadhyaya (self study and mastery), and isvara pranidhana (surrender and dedicated devotion to the all pervading universal seed source residing in all beings).

Commentary: Thus the niyams are not merely counteractants, but more so actions to bring forward from the bound and stable base of yama. They have a strong remedial and positive effect. For example in the yams truth counteracts deceit, asteya remediates thievery, etc., but the niyams more directly reflect the underlying causal principles behind samadhi and yoga, and thus act to ripen and fructify the yams, just as the yams aid in the maturation of the niyams.

Niyam as the end of death, is rebirth. "Ni" (as in niyam), means that which is inherent or underneath. As such the niyams clarify, complement, and expand upon the yams. What is underneath the yams, is the niyams. What is revealed is yoga. The niyamas thus are even more proactive actions which Patanjali encourages us to practice in order to accelerate one's success in yoga. Again yam and niyam are both two way streets. For example, ahimsa and satya promote saucha and swadhyaya; asteya and aparigraha lead to santosha and tapas; brahmacharya leads to isvara pranidhana; while the reverse is also true; i.e., that the practice of the niyams leads to the maturing realization of the yams. The niyams also have inner and outer meanings, coarse and subtle and can be applied to the body, speech, and mind.

II. 33. vitarka-badhane pratipaksa-bhavanam

Bondage (badhane) due to coarse low vibratory qualities of fragmented awareness (vitarka) become reversed and remediated through the application and cultivation of their opposites (pratipaksa-bhavanam).

Commentary:Pratipaksa-bhavanam is a practice which counteracts/remedies negative situations by implementing the opposite attitude or intention (bhavanam) Vitarka (coarse consciousness such as inference, logic, epistemological reasoning, and analytical thought patterns) cease and are bound (badhane) through cultivating (bhavanam) the practice of reversing and returning them back to their source (pratipaksa). The yams and niyams are one way to effect pratipaksa and thus remediate vitarka. Thus when consciousness is agitated, unwholesome, discontinuous, and corrupted by the coarseness produced by ordinary discursive cognitive faculties of fragmented materialistic thought patterns (vitarka), they can be annulled through the remediation processes of the yams and niyams (effectual pratipaksa) which annuls, and reverses the coarse citta-vrtti, hence producing a balanced and quiet mind-field. Pratipaksa can be applied to any citta-vrtti, for example in pramana-vrtti, it can be questioning or reevaluating the basis of all dearly held beliefs and attachments by contemplating upon the possibility of their opposite meanings (pratipaksa-bhavanam). So in that sense the niyams act in this positive sense of being a remedial transformational activity (pratipaksa) for any citta-vrtti or klesha.

On a more refined level, the yams/niyams then point to the nirvicara (beyond even the most subtle mental contamination produced by the confusion of a separate subject/object relationship) reflecting the eternal presence of the intrinsic wholesome Great Integrity in the sacred place of All Our Relations. Here the niyams all point to the completion and extension of the non-dual transpersonal Great Binding (Maha-vratam) or Great Integrity which underlies, supports, and culminates as Yoga. It is usually dhyana (meditation) however which excels in eliminating the most subtle thought patterns into nirvicara, nirvikalpa, and asamprajnata, hence producing samadhi.

It is not only the five yams and five niyams which are effective methods of such remediation, but also there are many variations of that theme that can be implemented in All Our Relations that are effective (annavacchinnah) when that intent to achieve enlightenment to reverse the wheel of bondage (samsara) has become firmly established through functional practice. This cultivation of the great intent) bhavanam is a natural consequence of the great vow (Mahavrata) -- the recognition of our highest seed potential -- the intrinsic wisdom coming into visibility -- becoming revealed in All Our Relations.

II. 34. vitarka himsadayah krta-karita-anumodita lobha-krodha-moha-purvaka mrdu-madhya-adhimatra duhkha-ajnana-ananta-phala iti pratipaksa-bhavanam

Thus the strong tendencies toward coarseness and harm (vitarka) can be reversed through these effective remedial applications (pratipaksa bhavanam) which by balancing out the coarse (vitarka) corruptive influences accompanied by (purvaka) violence (himsadayah), lobha (greed), krodha (anger), and moha (delusion) no matter if they are weak (mrdu), medium (madhya), or adhimatra (intense) but also thus acts to destroy them. As such pratipaksa-bhavanam acts to counter harmful latent potentials that can lead to endless (ananta) future suffering (duhkha) and ignorance (ajnana).

Commentary: Again pratipaksa-bhavanam is a practice which counteracts/remedies negative situations by implementing the opposite attitude or intention (bhavanam). This is what the word, pratistha, connotes (a term that is found in each yama). These are some of the specific harmful actions, negative karma, and kleshas that can be remediated by the application of contemplating their reverse actions (such as the yams and niyams). All those existing and potential negative feedback loops can be effectively reversed, balanced out, and nullified (pratpaksa-bhavanam). Actions of body, speech, or mind based on coarse thoughts which in turn are based on separateness (vitarka) result in himsha (violence, greed (lobha), krodha (anger), and moha (delusion) lead to suffering (duhkha). They come from pain and ignorance and lead to even more pain and ignorance unless they are remediated by the wise (through the balancing out these negative states through the application of yam/niyam). Such remediation is not simply effected by blind parroting of the yams and niyams but rather by reflecting upon the unifying principle and intent that underlies them all (the Great Integrity which yoga affords us). Also every coarse thought as well as activity can be analyzed by contemplating the application of its opposite.

Coarse breath, coarse speech, coarse physical actions, and coarse mental thoughts are all inter-related. Acting upon them only brings more suffering and ignorance. All the yoga practices help us move from vitarka to nirvitarka and from vicara to nirvicara until our vibrations and awareness are raised and we are moved only by love. So if we are negatively affected by the citta-vrtti or kleshas, ramping up the integration of niyams in our daily life and practices is itself a powerful remediator. Here the breath and energy is transformed from coarse and superficial, to deep, strong, subtle, and balanced. The subtle energy body is thus consciously established in this way. This has a profound affect in mental, emotional, energetic, and physical patterns, behavior, and conduct, as the bodymind interacts in alignment with creation co-creatively firmly grounded in this integrity.

The Innate and Natural Integrity of Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, and the rest of the branches of Astanga Yoga

Ahimsa, satya, and asteya form an essential unity, while all the limbs of astanga yoga are integral parts of a profound transpersonal realization. Even a beginning yogi realizes that everything depends upon their ability to align with the momentum of truth (satya), so that it is embraced at each moment – at every turn of fate, so to speak. Thus, one avoids falling into confusion, while embracing the light, while reflecting it, allowing no compromise. Putting falsehood to rest by repudiating guile and removing harm (himsa) is where satyagraha lives. That appears as an expression of timeless and boundless compassionate love, in each and every action as asteya – as the union of ahimsa, satya, and asteya in action. That integrity evidences no contradictions, hypocrisy, dichotomies, ironies, nor fabricated complexities. For a yogi, this happens NOW (in ever-presence), but for ordinary people, they are in for a pleasant surprise on their path of practice.

Passivity or avoidance in the face of harm (himsa), allows harm to exist through omission. Complacency, apathy, fatalism, and slavery are relative in degree. They are all due to indifference/desensitization, which stems from a misguided defense mechanism, the fear of feeling pain or discomfort. Albeit, zombism may be trendy, but by definition it is the opposite of an empowered and wise expression of a connected heart (compassion and wisdom).

When such disconnected people sit back in the midst of himsa unopposed, that reluctance is their decision, but it is colored by inhibition of the heart which is already doing the intimidated passive observer harm. Such numbness and lack of compassionate response-ability (apathy) will always stand opposed to a natural, compassionate, and spontaneous ahimsic response, if we define respecting and honoring the life force (prana) as something that we actually feel with a sense of integrity in body, mind, and breath. Further repression of this momentum creates dis-ease. Compassionate activity seems to be a wise natural expression in all cases, while a yogi can not even imagine an alignment other than that. That natural response is extremely simple, as it is not conceptually fabricated, ideated, nor ideologically based. Some feel moved and others feel nothing. When "the nothings" rule, living beings are in trouble. There the zombies rule.

Natural expression or compassionate activity - it happens by itself. I would certainly not advocate being a zombie. The sum total of causative factors - this sum total being ultimately the entire created Universe, mother nature, or Ma, however you would describe "It" in non-dual terms where we are co-creating/co-evolving together, already is determining our activities as it presents conditions. Only when we are free of our own personal karma, can we affect a new direction. This requires waking up as self-liberation.

Otherwise, to imagine we are somehow in charge of events is to imagine we are separate (egos). By itself, this view can be dry and sterile, if there is also an inclination to renounce the world as an illusion or distraction. Such a reification of the world and a separate independent self is hopelessly dualistic. It is a mental fabrication where boundless space and the all pervading mind is absent.

Thus surrendering to nature as the creative force is not enough in itself, as we risk riding the evolutionary waves and winds of past collective karma, without accepting our co-creative role. Then the creative intelligence and energy behind creativity is animated and embodied, the creative principle behind it is activated inside of us as well, and then through an aligned intention, we change not only our own vibrations and subtle body, but that matrix interacts with the whole interdependently to complete its higher evolutionary purpose as a supreme union. The entire matrix is affected.

We may state that the physical universe exists, but it may not exist in the way that "ordinary egoic mindsets normally perceive it. For example, phenomena are not static or solid, rather they are moving energy fields interacting intelligently within a larger interdependent matrix. The normal egoic perception of "the universe" does not change the universe itself, but rather only our perception of it. If one argues that one's mind is part of the universe, then in that small way, one may say that a small part of the universe (your mind) has changed. For example, if someone perceives water as earth, it wouldn't really matter much unless one attempts to walk on the water. Then, they might drown. Regardless, the universe is constantly changing/moving; i.e., it is temporal. So much for thoughts in themselves. Of course, behavior follows thoughts and/or emotions; so, in that sense, ignorant thoughts will indirectly negatively influence conduct and eventually the influence the so-called physical world to an extent. Some beings on the planet earth are moving and changing things, consciously to some extent and/or unconsciously. We can see this on a relative or analogue scale devoid of absolutes. Positive thoughts and emotions also influence the subtle, biopsychic, and physical bodies and can create positive actions (good karma, merit, or punya). The yogi, however, aims at being free from any predisposition or karmic seed trace. This is not done by withdrawal or dissociation, but through alignment, union, and integration; e.g., astanga yoga.

So to sum up, both the universe and the way that we perceive the universe may limit and/or expand our abilities to act creatively. Normally it is within these two extremes that we can choose and make conscious decisions and act. Therefore any statement, that the sum total of causative factors, this sum total being ultimately the Universe, already determines our activities is not necessarily true. These are simply conditions, which may or may not limit one's ability to act. A liberated being (jivanmukti) or wise yogi who has burned up their own karma having gained liberation (moksha) not only has a choice, but rather has the obligation to act co-creatively. To be clear and avoid semantic confusion, this is not an assertion of an independent egoic action in a vacuum, but rather interdependent alignment and clear insight taking into consideration the interconnection between the mind, subtle body, physical body, nature/creation, and the universal timeless intelligent creative principle behind it.

It would be constructive to continue to address unconditioned (karmically free) liberation of a realized yogi (jivanmukti), until activities are addressed that co-create positive, compassionate, and ahimsic change, so called yogic practice (sadhana) and the power of aligning intent (sankalpa) with the universal timeless creative principle (isvara).  In short, yogis can burn away their past karma through positive actions (punya) generating what is called merit. That consciously creates a better future by opening up new or free space. Then the yogi with such ahimsic/compassionate intent so aligned, takes that realization some steps further, while addressing liberation from both personal karma and the liberation of all beings (collective karma).

In modern western therapy, the brain is considered to be neuroplastic, which means it changes according to emotional situations, and most importantly for a yogi, these emotional and mental situations can be affected through conscious intent. The nervous system changes and it is capable of intentional change once self discipline becomes invoked. Another essential factor is to not be seduced into fantasy or delusional thinking, so that is where the unity of ahimsa, satya, and asteya merge together as a unified force.

To imagine that we are somehow in charge of events is to imagine an independent separate being truly exists, which is a dualistic delusion. Rather the process is simply one of clearing past karma, mental and psychic obstructions, opening the subtle body in relationship, and aligning with the natural world as-it-is consciously, as an allied co-evolutionary compassionate ahimsic force. 

If some one conceptualizes an alien god, that may act upon one's behalf, one at the same time creates a barrier and distance between themselves and their god. In that tragic way they can never be a direct instrument for primordial love and light, but maybe a devotee or slave.   

It is very important to have a sense that we participate as co-evolutionary partners in respecting and honoring the life/evolutionary force innate in all living beings and things. If humans refuse to participate in their own co-evolutionary process, then they will not evolve/survive as a species.

Although the ordinary man has lost sight of the fact that human beings are part of a very large and old intelligent evolutionary process – are kin of one large family, humans have to rejoin the great family today. It is their evolutionary destiny and purpose. Ignoring that part, is exactly where the dualist I/it separation, tension, and conflict occurs; i.e., many human beings have been conditioned to think of themselves as separate, independent, and apart from that process due to the imposition/importation of alien and distant god philosophies. Those who dogmatically cling to these externalized systems as fundamentalist true believers in external codifications have given up their power to an almighty god. Such provides compensatory but restive solace. They have given up their response-ability and power habitually for thousands of years, until the human being has institutionalized ignorance, suffering, and sin. The larger tragedy is that many feel a need to advocate this type of slavery upon others in order to justify/defend their pre-existing passivity. Indeed it is an unfortunate  quirk that when confronted with facts that conflict with such dogmatic beliefs, these adherents will aggressively defend their world view (and egoic identity) even more stridently, as if their very life depended upon it. We will find that when we talk of mentation and behavior, we can not avoid entering into the social and hence. political arena.

Politically, such serves the status quo elitists and their cronies (who are fed some of the spoils from their slave master's table). This brainwashed psychology has long been identified as psychological transference by insecure, confused, and disempowered people to their authoritative family, church, and/or state (read external authority) seeking for an external order/structure to compensate for their spiritual Diaspora.

Such blind belief promises to let people off the hook as in, "I didn't know, or god has his own reasons, or "god did it, but I had nothing to do with it". Fatalism, divine decree, destiny, or divine providence as an ideology or as a belief in divine will is nothing more than a delusional cop-out that de-legitimates and demeans the highest creative potential as well as democracy. Hence, any small freedoms that man has secured for himself and his posterity are thwarted. The Western almighty god faith has infected "Western Yoga" as well, whereas in the Yoga Sutras for example, practice (sadhana) is advocated in its stead. Ishvara pranidhana is surrender and alignment to the *innate* principle in all of creation.  This is our supramental inheritance, for which human beings must take respons-ability.` According to the great saints, practice does not lead to escapism and denial of life, but rather to fulfilling man's purpose as his destiny by understanding why he is here and how he got here, in the first place. Putting that together as in embodying it (in body, speech, and mind) where the human being acts as a co-evolutionary agent is yoga, according to Sri Aurobindo and others.

In this context, wisdom/awareness plays a large part in the sense that, if we do not know where we are, how we got here, what the choices are, what the possibilities are, or their causes, then one continues to act and think habitually and unconsciously, again, not recognizing that they even have a choice.

As one's sadhana progresses, the sadhak naturally finds the innate integrity as natural connections between ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha, saucha, santosha, swadhyaya, tapas, isvara pranidhana, karuna, maitri, mudita, and upeksa.

"As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings; radiating kindness over the entire world."

~the Buddha, Sutta Nipata I, 8

We will see how all the yam/niyam are inter-related with each other, how they all are mutual synergists with the other limbs, how they may be applied, and how they complete the great circle within the integrative Heart of yoga residing in the middle of middles -- in the Great Heart Center -- the Hridayam. The yam/niyams reflect this Great non-dual Truth and also bring the sincere aspirant closer to it through aligning with these in daily practice -- in deeds, in words, and in thought.

Paramahansa Yogananda's commentary to the Bhagavad Gita , (SRF, Los Angles, 1999 ) says in chapter VI. 37-38s:

"Arjuna said:

(37) O Krishna! What happens to a person unsuccessful in yoga -- one who has devotedly tried to meditate, but has been unable to control himself because his mind kept running away during yoga practice?

(38) Doesn't the yogi perish like a sundered cloud if he finds not the way to Brahman (Spirit) -- being thus unsheltered in Him and steeped in delusion, sidetracked from both paths (the one of God-union and the one of right activities)?

(39) Please remove forever my doubts, O Krishna! for none save Thee may banish my uncertainties

The devotee who performs meritorious actions develops divine memory and good karma that propel him to seek liberation in this life or the beyond. The memory of the divine bliss of yoga practice lies lodged in his subconscious mind. If he is not able to find full liberation in one life, in his next incarnation the hidden memory of his past experiences of yoga sprouts forth in spiritual inclinations."

Now Patanjali describes the five yams in detail in sutras 35-39. We will see that the word, pratistha, is used in each sutra on the yams to correspond to pratipaksa-bhavanam. Hence the yams are primarily remedial, leading the practitioner from coarse bondage (vitarka-badhane) and duhkha (suffering) to liberation and happiness. For example, reverence for all life (ahimsa counteracts himsa (harm and violence) and so forth.

II. 35. ahimsa-pratisthayam tat-samnidhau vaira-tyagah

RESPECT AND REVERENCE FOR LIFE; Standing in the Doorway of Healing Love

Thus by establishing a firm alignment, stance, and embodiment with ahimsa (non-violence), then that presence (samnidhau) will abandon (tyagah) harm, hostility, hatred, contentiousness, conflict, animosity and disease (vaira). Thus future seeds of ahimsa are planted in Now presence.

himsa: harmfulness, abuse, exploitation.

ahimsa: removing or leaving harm behind

pratishayam: to stand firm as the remedy. To turn back or to manifest the opposite. Placing the mind, energy, and intention in a steady non-conflicting state; firmly established; free from disturbing influences; unshakeable; to stand strong,

tat: thus

vaira: hostility or animosity

samnidhau: presence. nearness, close proximity.

tyagah: leaving behind; to abandon.

Commentary: The translation is positive. Pratisthayam means to stand strong against the exposure (samnidhau) to hostilities (vaira) and hence act as a counteractant toward becoming overwhelmed, becoming engulfed, or collapsing into animosity and hostility (vaira-tyagah). Thus by standing in the power of ahimsa, ahimsa is amplified and overflows. Animosity and harm (vaira) is remediated. Ahimsa is not passivity. For example, if a boulder is rolling down a hill toward one and/or one's children, it is not ahimsa to remain passive, while doing nothing, but rather divert the boulder's path or warn the family and carry them out of harm's way. Ahimsa can be applied everyday and is more so an attitude toward life, the world, and other beings. Himsa means harm. As such it is best not to translate ahimsa as, non-violence; rather it is better in the broader sense translated as non-harm or the removal of harm.

The point again is to reflect upon the intent lying behind ahimsa, which is not only to remove harm, but rather more so to affirm well being, happiness, and santosha. Ahimsa is considered the primary yama in which all the others can be derived. As one develops in their yoga practice, the obscurations are loosened and fall way. In that process a broader transpersonal and non-dual reality will be revealed naturally, and in so doing ahimsa will be expressed spontaneously and naturally as a compassionate aspect of our natural unfabricated primordial connection. There are countless ways to derive this connection. One way is that by removing harm, violence, pain, and suffering to "self" we commune more deeply with that which heals -- the healing force. Hence, when we commune more deeply with the life force (prana) we become more deeply connected with the cosmic Prana and its intelligent agent (cit-shakti). We bring this into our lives and to All Our Relations. We will see that this is the purport of Pada IV.

To cultivate ahimsa in relationship to our interaction with others, we see that this brings in more ahimsic energy into our own very life, while accentuating it. It is a matter of sensitivity training, as a nondual process of becoming in touch with the life force (shakti) within ourselves and within all beings. All the limbs are involved in this compassionate nondual process After practice, we become aware that in order to bring ahimsa into our lives more, it has to be unconditional, i.e., it becomes a wholehearted, unfettered, automatic, and spontaneous transpersonal affirmation as we become more certain of what we want and who we truly are. Through the practice of ahimsa -- through our direct experience of it, we increasingly start to see the underlying transpersonal nature of ahimsa and where it is coming from -- its healing Integral Source. When we merge with that innate Great Integrity, then the healing spontaneously abides and manifests from the inside out in All Our Relations.

Obviously, then ahimsa is not just physical, but is in our thoughts and speech as well. It becomes the foundation of our stance and position as human beings. Physically we refrain from hurting others physically as well as animals, plants, and the entire Gaia- sphere. We refrain from hurting the environment which is habitat to self and others. We refrain from harming the future habitat as well and that of our grandchildren's children. Every action thus considers and consults both those yet born up until at least the Seventh Generation as well as the elders, who have come before us and have lit the way for us. Our political, social, ecological, and consumer actions also reflect this ahimsa attitude if we have integrity (as such these are not simply rules that we parrot, but a way of living spirit). Ahimsa is not an abstract concept, but a cherished value that integrates to our bone. The yogi is encouraged to enter into an internal inquiry (swadhyaya) on the topic. For example, where does ahimsa fit regarding our use of food grown with pesticides, our consumption of electricity from nuclear power plants, our consumption of non-biodegradable products, etc. harm our ecology, others, future ecological systems that support life, and /or ourselves; or conversely can we help create a less harmful world, less war, less violence, more peace, more abundance, and more happiness? It is more powerful to know that just attempting to eliminate himsa physically, although helpful is not causal by itself'; rather it must be eliminated at its root. We recognize that firstly, the awareness of the presence of harm (himsa) must be recognized in order to abandon it. That requires an awareness of what is not harm, ahimsa. That awareness is completed through yoga. What all encompassing non-dual "Reality" does ahimsa in its transpersonal sense reflect?

Refraining from harming others in speech is also valuable, so we refrain in belittling and condemning others -- refrain from gossip and innuendo, refrain from using words as weapons -- to hurt, punish, exploit, condemn, or manipulate others. But it is in the ahimsa of the HeartMind that ahimsa works its most causal magic. Here we no longer hate others, harbor anger nor ill will toward others, no longer desire to punish nor condemn others, no longer disparage or judge others, no longer harbor envy, rivalry, nor competition, pride nor one-up-man ship. When ahimsa of the HeartMind is realized, saucha and santosha are also realized -- suffering, samskara, karma, and its tendencies have become completely remediated,

The power of ahimsa in thought and attitude toward All Our Relations is one of the most powerful of all healers. Just to think of any one as being ill, limited, or incomplete will tend to limit their universal soul potential within them an injustice. So it is wise and less harmful to see the buddha nature potential in all beings and address one's correspondence by affirming THAT truth in All Our Relations. This connects ahimsa with satya in satyagraha (see the discussion under satya).

So we go beyond simple ahimsa by no longer creating more harm or suffering through body, speech, or mind, but actually take the next natural step, i.e., of removing harm and suffering (and its seeds) by healin