Let's explore: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.5 + 1.6
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a collection of 195 Sanskrit sutras, or words of wisdom, on the practices of yoga. They were written at least 1,700 years ago by the mystified Sage Patanjali. As mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, when one thinks of yoga the physical practice for stretching typically is what comes to mind. Did you know that is only one aspect of the Yogic science? According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the actual meaning of Yoga is the science of the mind.
Yoga Sutras, a text on yoga, outlines the eight limbs of yoga. The sutras (to thread) and weave through the wisdoms and teachings of yoga. Throughout your journey reading and digesting the sutras, guidelines will pop up to help align yourself to living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
To challenge myself to learn even more about where yoga came from and the true teachings, I will dive into the sutras presented to me during my current training and share with the ethers how they resonate with me.
Today we are diving into Yoga Sutra 1.5 + 1.6.
Book One: Samadhi Pada or Portion on Contemplation
1.5 - Vrttayah Pancatayyah Klistaklistah
Vrttayah - modification
Pancatayyah - Five fold
Klista - painful
aklistah - painless
"There are five kinds of mental modifications which are either painful or painless"
What does this mean to me? Well first I noticed there are two categories presented for the mental modifications and what they can bring forward. It stuns me how simple the most complex moments of our lives can be categorized. 1. Brings Pain 2. Does Not, *or* 1. Selfish 2. Selfless
While reading the sutra I see that it asks us to be honest with ourselves. What will this thought bring? We may not always feel it in the moment but when we are clear we can step back to observe and analyze our thoughts. Although we must be honest with ourselves.
Now... let's explore 1.6 to find out what the five fold even is?!
1.6 Aramana viparyaya vikalpa nida smrtayah
Pramana - correct or right knowledge
viparyaya - misconception; incorrect knowledge
vikalpa - verbal discussion , imagination
Nidra - sleep
smrti - memory (ayah - plural grouping the 5)
"They are right knowledge, misconception, verbal discussion, sleep and memory."
Each of the five functions or activities of the mind has the potential to cause us suffering or not. Let's break each five down a little more...
Pramana - correct perception - is seeing something correctly, whether its directly with your own eyes, through interference, or through a reliable source such as credible person, teacher or text.
Viparyaya - incorrect understanding or misconception - occurs when you think something is true and act as if you have perceived it correctly, when in fact you haven't
Vikalpa - imagination - happens on a more subtle level, as an idea that we create in our minds
Nidra - deep sleep - notable as the activity defined by "non activity" the mind is directed inward
Smrti - memory - is the recollection of our past experiences
Tying both Sutras together:
Learning the five functions of the mind is beneficial because it adds more tools into our toolbox. it helps us to be honest with ourselves and puts a name to the different activities of the mind. We then bring awareness to these functions to eventually avoid unnecessary suffering. Yoga is ultimately about working with the mind. When we understand how our minds work we then have the ability to know the self as independent from the mind and its fluctuations. This also reduces suffering.
This nudges me to reflect a bit on my smrti (memory) and be honest with myself. Have the fluctuations of the mind caused suffering in any way in my life? ......hell yeah they have! That's human. To be on this earth is to experience suffering. And that just is. Not good, not bad - just is. I can count numerous times when smrti's (memories) crept up and created vikalpa (imagination) to then create viparyaya (misconception) of a situation. Our mind is a powerful tool that is here for us to learn how to master and use for our advantage. Rather, I've let my mind run the show. In my opinion, the hardest memories (smrti) to pinpoint are when they are from childhood. The older you get, the further the recollection of the memory, however, our body keeps score. Our body has held onto that memory from the moment it formed. That is when getting on my mat and journaling has helped me to pinpoint those moments and threads I have been weaving from one specific memory. How have I let that shaped me? Can I let it go? YES. your soul is separate from the mind. You have always had a light within you and always will. Clear the clutter and fluctuations of the mind to get to the center of you, to touch your soul.
When I notice memories are taking control, that is the opportunity to take it back. That's the beautiful thing about putting a name to something, it brings it to light and gives it a personality. It makes it a little more separate from you and a little more tangible. Have there been times in my life where I felt less than and not worthy? Yep. Were those people in my life meant to teach me a lesson or give me a life-sentence? Well.. that is up to me. I choose to create the reality that I was simply meant to learn a lesson, not be bogged down by it. When memories take the lead, I start to have constant confirmation bias all around me. Isn't it crazy all we can create with our minds? When we start to notice that we see how powerful our minds can be as a tool.
If you've made it this far, thank you for attempting to follow my stream of consciousness. it can be wild, sometimes it won't make sense - but I hope it resonates with you. I will not edit these as they are almost like my journal, so my apologies for any typos :)
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (OM Peace, Peace, Peace),