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31Yoga Sutras 1.30: Nine natural distractions on the journey

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Sep 13, 2005
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      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.30:
      Nine natural distractions on the journey
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-13032.htm#1.30

      YOGA SUTRA 1.30: Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles
      naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency
      of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of
      attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and
      body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect
      assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice,
      and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.
      (vyadhi styana samshaya pramada alasya avirati bhranti-darshana
      alabdha-bhumikatva anavasthitatva chitta vikshepa te antarayah)

      VYADHI = disease, illness, sickness
      STYANA = mental laziness, inefficiency, idleness, procrastination,
      dullness
      SAMSHAYA = indecision, doubt
      PRAMADA = carelessness, negligence
      ALASYA = sloth, langour, laziness
      AVIRATI = sensuality, want of non-attachment, non-abstention, craving
      BHARANTI-DARSHANA = false views or perception, confusion of
      philosophies (bhranti = false; darshana = views, perception)
      ALABDHA-BHUMIKATVA = failing to attain stages of practice (alabdha =
      not obtaining; bhumikatva = stage, state, firm ground)
      ANAVASTHITATVA = instability, slipping down, inability to maintain
      CHITTA-VIKSHEPA = distractions of the mind (chitta = mind field;
      VIKSHEPA = distractions, diversions)
      TE = they are, these are
      ANTARAYAH = obstacles, impediments

      COMFORT IN KNOWING THESE ARE PREDICTABLE: If these are the
      impediments along the journey, then we can feel much more at ease
      when we encounter them. Instead of thinking, "Something is wrong with
      me," we can see that these are predictable bumps along the road of
      spiritual life and unfoldment. If we know that such obstacles are
      going to come, and that other people before us have encountered them,
      then we can also follow their experience and guide as to how to deal
      with these obstacles.

      DISTRACTIONS (CHITTA-VIKSHEPA) COME FIRST: These two principles
      (chitta-vikshepa and antarayah) are not just lumped together as one
      concept. They are separate, though work together. Seeing these two as
      separate reveals a big key to Yoga. First, one of these nine states
      of mind or mental impressions arises, and attention engages with
      them. They literally distract the attention from whatever else it was
      focused on at the time. That distraction comes first.

      THEN, THEY BECOME OBSTACLES (ANTARAYAH): However, the second part of
      the process is that this distraction (chitta-vikshepa), once the
      engagement of attention remains fixed on the distraction, then also
      becomes an obstacle (antarayah), which is alive and rich with its
      painful disturbing qualities. Thus, it is a two part process of
      distraction, which is followed by it being an obstacle. If the first
      part (the distraction) did not happen, then the second part (the
      obstacle) would not surface as being a problem.

      DISTRACTION AND DISTURBANCE: Distraction and disturbance are two
      different principles. Notice that there first must be distraction,
      and that this is followed by disturbance.

      KEY TO THE OBSTACLES IS TO NOT BE DISTRACTED: How to break the link
      between the distraction and the subsequent pain as an obstacle is
      then the key to freedom. It is suggested in sutra 1.32 (below) that
      the means of doing this is through making the mind one-pointed, or
      focused in such a way that the distraction does not come. In turn,
      the obstacle does not surface. It is an amazingly simple principle;
      so simple, in fact, that it is very difficult to entice ourselves to
      believe it and to practice it. Nonetheless, the ability to focus the
      mind is critical and worthy of great effort to cultivate.

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