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Yoga Sutra 2.3-2.2: Five Kinds of Colorings or Kleshas to Explore

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Yoga Sutra 2.3 FIVE KINDS OF COLORINGS OR KLESHAS TO EXPLORE http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-20109.htm#2.3 YOGA SUTRA 2.3: There are five kinds
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      Yoga Sutras: Yoga Sutra 2.3
      FIVE KINDS OF COLORINGS OR KLESHAS TO EXPLORE
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-20109.htm#2.3

      YOGA SUTRA 2.3: There are five kinds of coloring (kleshas): 1)
      forgetting, or ignorance about the true nature of things (avidya), 2)
      I-ness, individuality, or egoism (asmita), 3) attachment or addiction
      to mental impressions or objects (raga), 4) aversion to thought
      patterns or objects (dvesha), and 5) love of these as being life
      itself, as well as fear of their loss as being death.
      (avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha)

      avidya = spiritual forgetting, ignorance, veiling, nescience
      asmita = associated with I-ness
      raga = attraction or drawing to, addiction
      dvesha = aversion or pushing away, hatred
      abhinivesha = resistance to loss, fear of death of identity, desire
      for continuity, clinging to the life of
      pancha = five
      klesha = colored, painful, afflicted, impure; the root klish means to
      cause trouble; (klesha is the noun form of the adjective klishta)

      See also:
      Five Kleshas section of Witnessing Your Thoughts:
      http://www.swamij.com/witnessing.htm#fivecolorings
      Klishta and Aklishta Thoughts:
      http://www.swamij.com/klishta-aklishta.htm

      A MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICE IN YOGA: Cultivating self-awareness of the
      five kleshas is one of the most important foundation practices in the
      entire science of Yoga. Note that in Chapter 1 of the Yoga Sutra, the
      first four sutras describe or define Yoga, and that the very next
      sutra (1.5) introduces the concept of the many levels of thought
      patterns being either klishta (colored) or aklishta (uncolored). Now,
      in this current sutra (and Kriya Yoga in general), the concept is
      expanded, describing the nature of the five individual kleshas. In
      Kriya Yoga, the gross level of coloring is dealt with (2.1), while
      the next few sutras begin the process of dealing with the subtler
      colorings (2.10-2.11, 2.12-2.25). It works in stages, first reducing
      the gross, and then the subtle. To be aware of the practice of self-
      awareness or witnessing of the kleshas of our own mind is a very
      useful thing to do.

      THE FIVE KLESHAS: Each of the five kleshas are described separately
      in the forthcoming sutras:

      Avidya (2.4, 2.5) = spiritual forgetting, ignorance, veiling,
      nescience
      Asmita (2.6) = associated with I-ness
      Raga (2.7) = attraction or drawing to, addiction
      Dvesha (2.8) = aversion or pushing away, hatred
      Abhinivesha (2.9) = resistance to loss, fear of death of identity,
      desire for continuity, clinging to the life of

      FOUR STAGES OF KLESHAS: The five colorings (klishta) of individual
      deep thought patterns are in one of four states. These are described
      in the next sutra (2.4), as part of introducing specifics about the
      nature of the five kleshas themselves.

      ALLOW STREAMS OF INDIVIDUAL THOUGHTS TO FLOW: One of the best ways to
      get a good understanding of witnessing the kleshas (colorings) is to
      sit quietly and intentionally allow streams of individual thoughts to
      arise. This doesn't mean thinking or worrying. It literally is an
      experiment in which you intentionally let an image come. It is
      easiest to do with what seem to be insignificant impressions.

      For example, imagine a fruit, and notice what comes to mind. An apple
      may come to mind, and you simply note "Attraction" if you like it, or
      are drawn to it. It may not be a strong coloring, but maybe you
      notice there is some coloring. You may think of a pear, and note that
      there is an ever so slight "aversion" because you do not like pears.

      EXPERIMENT WITH COLORINGS: Allow lots of such to images come. One of
      the things I have done often with people is to grab about 10-15 small
      stones in my hand, and ask a person to pick one they like. Then I ask
      them to pick one they are less drawn to (few people will say
      they "dislike" one of the stones). It is a very simple experiment
      that demonstrates the way in which attractions and aversions are
      born. It is easier at first to experiment with witnessing thoughts
      for which there is only slight coloring, only a small amount of
      attraction or aversion.

      You can easily run such experiments with many objects arising into
      the field of mind from the unconscious. You can also easily do this
      by observing the world around you. Notice the countless ways in which
      your attention is drawn to this or that object or person, but gently
      or strongly turns away from other objects or people.

      Though it is a bit harder to do, notice the countless objects you
      pass by everyday for which there is no response whatsoever. These are
      examples of neutral impressions in the mind field.

      GRADUALLY WITNESS STRONGER COLORINGS: By observing in this way, it is
      easier to gradually witness stronger attractions and aversions in a
      similar way. When we can begin the process of witnessing the type of
      coloring, then we can start the process of attenuating the coloring,
      which is discussed in the next section.

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