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Yoga Sutra 2.33-2.34: When struggling with the Yamas & Niyamas

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutra 2.33-2.34 WHEN STRUGGLING WITH THE YAMAS & NIYAMAS http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.33 YOGA SUTRAS 2.33-2.34: When these codes of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2006
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      Yoga Sutra 2.33-2.34
      WHEN STRUGGLING WITH THE YAMAS & NIYAMAS
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.33

      YOGA SUTRAS 2.33-2.34:

      When these codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas) and
      observances or practices of self-training (niyamas) are inhibited
      from being practiced due to perverse, unwholesome, troublesome, or
      deviant thoughts, principles in the opposite direction, or contrary
      thought should be cultivated. Actions arising out of such negative
      thoughts are performed directly by oneself, caused to be done through
      others, or approved of when done by others. All of these may be
      preceded by, or performed through anger, greed or delusion, and can
      be mild, moderate or intense in nature. To remind oneself that these
      negative thoughts and actions are the causes of unending misery and
      ignorance is the contrary thought, or principle in the opposite
      direction that was recommended in the previous sutra.


      YOGA SUTRA 2.33:

      2.33 When these codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas) and
      observances or practices of self-training (niyamas) are inhibited
      from being practiced due to perverse, unwholesome, troublesome, or
      deviant thoughts, principles in the opposite direction, or contrary
      thought should be cultivated.
      (vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam)

      vitarka = troublesome thoughts, deviating (from the yamas and niyamas)
      badhane = disturbed by, inhibited by
      pratipaksha = to the contrary, opposite thoughts or principles
      bhavanam = cultivate, habituate, thought of, contemplate on, reflect
      on

      WHEN YOU ARE NOT DOING THE YAMAS AND NIYAMAS:

      What do you do when you are not acting, speaking, or thinking in the
      way you know you want, when not following the suggestions by the
      Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32)? For example, you want to practice
      ahimsa, which is non-harming. But what do you do when you have a
      harmful, or angry attitude towards somebody else? The suggestion is
      to go in the opposite direction, which means reminding yourself to go
      away from that the anger. This is further described in the next sutra
      (2.34).

      WHAT DOES "OPPOSITE" DIRECTION MEAN?

      When thinking of anger or hatred, for example, it can seem that one
      should cultivate love, which is a good idea. However, you may have
      noticed how hard it is to cultivate love for one with whom you are
      intensely angry. The word opposite is used here to suggest that
      rather than going into, or getting caught up in that anger, we move
      away from it, in the opposite direction, which is not quite the same
      as saying we should cultivate love. Recall the foundation principle
      that consciousness wraps itself around the thought patterns in the
      mind field (1.4), and that this is the cause of suffering. When we
      unwrap our attention from those thought patterns (1.2), we rest in
      our true nature (1.3). This is the meaning of moving in the opposite
      direction; it means moving away from the entanglement of the
      negative. By moving away, we naturally experience the love. While the
      example of ahimsa (non-injury) and love were used here, the same
      principle applies to the other Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) as
      well.

      WHEN ACTING, SPEAKING, OR THINKING AGAINST YOUR VALUES:

      The Yamas and Niyamas give superb suggestions for living and being.
      However, the most important suggestion is on what to do when you are
      not acting, speaking, or thinking in the way you know you want, when
      not following the suggestions by the Yamas and Niyamas. For example,
      you want to practice ahimsa, which is non-harming. But what do you
      actually do when you have angry emotions towards somebody else?

      REMIND YOURSELF, "THIS IS NOT USEFUL"

      When you know that your actions, speech, or thoughts are not what you
      want, the suggestion is to repeatedly remind yourself that this anger
      (or other example) is going in the wrong direction, and will bring
      you nothing but unending misery. It can be as straightforward as
      silently repeating the words to yourself, "Mind, this is not useful;
      this is going to bring me nothing but more suffering, and lead me
      into greater ignorance of truth. Mind, you need to let go of this."

      GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION:

      This contrary training will gradually lead the mind in the right
      direction. It is done gently and lovingly with yourself; it is not
      suppression or repression of thoughts or emotions. This is further
      described in the next sutra (2.34).

      USE YOUR DETERMINATION:

      In Yoga Sutra 1.20 there were five foundation practices or attitudes
      suggested. These included cultivating memory and mindfulness
      (smriti), developing the faith that you are going in the right
      direction (shraddha), and committing the energy to go there (virya).
      To maintain an awareness of this kind of faith and determination is
      an important part of actually practicing and living the Yamas and
      Niyamas, rather than having them drift into the back of the mind as
      mere data that has been studied and then forgotten.

      OPPOSITES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL YAMAS AND NIYAMAS:

      Each of the individual sutras for the five Yamas and five Niyamas
      give guidance about cultivating the opposites:

      Ahimsa: non-violence, non-harming, non-injury (2.35)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.35

      Satya: truthfulness, honesty (2.36)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.36

      Asteya: non-stealing, abstention from theft (2.37)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.37

      Brahmacharya: walking in awareness of the highest reality,
      continence, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God
      (2.38)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.38

      Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-holding through senses, non-
      greed, non-grasping, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness (2.39)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.39

      Shaucha: purity of body and mind (2.40, 2.41)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.40
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.41

      Santosha: contentment (2.42)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.42

      Tapah: training the senses, austerities, ascesis (2.43)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.43

      Svadhyaya: self-study, reflection on sacred words (2.44)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.44

      Ishvara pranidhana: surrender; (ishvara = creative source, causal
      field, God, supreme Guru or teacher; pranidhana = practicing the
      presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice)
      (2.45)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.45


      YOGA SUTRA 2.34:

      2.34 Actions arising out of such negative thoughts are performed
      directly by oneself, caused to be done through others, or approved of
      when done by others. All of these may be preceded by, or performed
      through anger, greed or delusion, and can be mild, moderate or
      intense in nature. To remind oneself that these negative thoughts and
      actions are the causes of unending misery and ignorance is the
      contrary thought, or principle in the opposite direction that was
      recommended in the previous sutra.
      (vitarkah himsadayah krita karita anumoditah lobha krodha moha
      purvakah mridu madhya adhimatrah dukha ajnana ananta phala iti
      pratipaksha bhavanam)

      vitarkah = troublesome thoughts, deviating (from the yamas and
      niyamas)
      himsadayah = harmful and the others (himsa = harmful; adayah = et
      cetera, and so forth)
      krita = committed (by oneself)
      karita = caused to be done (by others)
      anumoditah = consented to, approved of (when done by others)
      lobha = greed, desire
      krodha = anger
      moha = delusion
      purvakah = preceded by
      mridu = mild, slight
      madhya = middling
      adhimatrah = intense, extreme
      dukha = misery, pain, suffering, sorrow
      ajnana = ignorance (a = without; jnana = knowledge)
      ananta = infinite, unending (an = un; anta = ending)
      phala = fruition, results, effects
      iti = thus
      pratipaksha = to the contrary, opposite thoughts or principles
      bhavanam = cultivate, habituate, thought of, contemplate on, reflect
      on

      TWO CONSEQUENCES:

      When acting, speaking, or thinking in opposite directions from the
      Yamas (2.31) and Niyamas (2.32), as described in the sutra above
      (2.33), there are two most undesirable consequences:

      1) INFINITE MISERY:

      When you feel the effects from injuring others, dishonesty, stealing,
      uncontrolled senses, and possessiveness, the misery, pain, suffering,
      and sorrow go on and on. A vicious cycle is set up where the colored
      thought patterns or samskaras of the karmashaya (2.12) repeats
      itself, over and over. This is the meaning of infinite misery; it
      doesn't stop; it just keeps recycling. To break this cycle of karma
      (2.12-2.25) is a key point in Yoga. To break the cycle first requires
      seeing clearly the fact that the cycle tends to just keep repeating
      itself once it starts. To see a situation clearly is a prerequisite
      to changing it.

      2) UNENDING IGNORANCE:

      When repeatedly moving in the direction of injuring others,
      dishonesty, stealing, uncontrolled senses, and possessiveness, which
      are away from, opposite to, or contrary to the Yamas (2.30) and
      Niyamas (2.32), the mind becomes ever more clouded, not seeing the
      situation clearly. As with the infinite misery mentioned above, there
      continues an ignorance (2.5), a not-seeing, which self-perpetuates
      without end. The ignorance of not seeing clearly (2.5) feeds on
      itself, and creates an ever more clouded mind (1.4), which blocks the
      true Self (1.3). To clear the clouded mind is the task of Yoga.

      KARMA ARTICLE: See also the article on:
      Karma and the Source of Actions, Speech, and Thoughts
      http://www.swamij.com/karma.htm

      WHAT DOES OPPOSITE DIRECTION MEAN?

      When thinking of anger or hatred, for example, it can seem that one
      should cultivate love, which is a good idea. However, you may have
      noticed how hard it is to cultivate love for one with whom you are
      intensely angry. The word opposite is used here to suggest that
      rather than going into, or getting caught up in that anger, we move
      away from it, in the opposite direction, which is not quite the same
      as saying we should cultivate love. Recall the foundation principle
      that consciousness wraps itself around the thought patterns in the
      mind field (1.4), and that this is the cause of suffering. When we
      unwrap our attention from those thought patterns (1.2), we rest in
      our true nature (1.3). This is the meaning of moving in the opposite
      direction; it means moving away from the entanglement of the
      negative. By moving away, we naturally experience the love. While the
      example of ahimsa (non-injury) and love were used here, the same
      principle applies to the other Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) as
      well.

      The opposite of hate is not love.
      The opposite of hate is non-hate,
      letting go, releasing of that hate.
      Then, love naturally arises.

      IT'S ALL ABOUT COLORING OR KLISHTA

      This entire subject of cultivating opposites is the same as the
      process of uncoloring the colored thought patterns, the klishta
      vrittis. It means moving away from klishta (colored) to aklishta
      (uncolored). This was described as a foundation practice of Yoga
      (1.5), and was described at its gross levels in the earlier sutras of
      chapter 2 (2.1-2.9), and then in its subtler aspects in the next few
      sutras (2.10-2.11). Breaking the subtle alliances of karma was then
      discussed (2.12-2.25). This principle is extremely simple, yet can be
      extremely difficult to comprehend initially.

      REMIND YOURSELF, "THIS IS NOT USEFUL"

      When you know that your actions, speech, or thoughts are not what you
      want, the suggestion is to repeatedly remind yourself that this anger
      (or other example) is going in the wrong direction, and will bring
      you nothing but unending misery. It can be as straightforward as
      silently repeating the words to yourself, "Mind, this is not useful;
      this is going to bring me nothing but more suffering, and lead me
      into greater ignorance of truth. Mind, you need to let go of this."

      27 TYPES OF NEGATIVITY:

      In moving against the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32), there are 27
      different varieties of negative actions, speech, or thoughts. It is
      very useful to remain mindful of these, as this self-awareness is
      most important in being able to train the mind in more positive and
      useful ways. There are three dimensions, which when combined with one
      another, produce the 27 possibilities (3x3x3=27) of not-useful or
      negative actions, speech, and thoughts:

      3 doers of action: yourself, recruiting another, or approving
      3 mental states: anger, greed, delusion
      3 intensities: mild, moderate, intense

      EXAMPLES: Here are a few examples of how these might interact:

      1) You (yourself) may tell a little (mild) lie to someone so as to
      get something that belongs to another (asteya, non-stealing), but
      that you want for yourself (greed).

      2) You may have your spouse (another person) call your office to say
      you are sick (satya, truthfulness) when you are (moderately) upset
      and dissatisfied (delusion) with your boss or coworkers.

      3) You may smile (approve) and feel great (intense) satisfaction
      (with anger) when someone you dislike (ahimsa, non-violence) gets a
      ticket from the police (done by another) for driving too fast.

      BEING EVER MINDFUL:

      Being ever mindful of these three dimensions, and their 27
      combinations is very useful in purifying and training the mind.

      BEING POSITIVE AND JOYFUL:

      Talking about 27 ways of negative thinking can itself sound
      depressing (recall that such obstacles naturally come, 1.30-1.32).
      However, the more this kind of self-awareness is practiced, the
      easier it becomes to focus on the positive, useful thoughts and
      emotions. Joy more naturally comes, as the many antics of the mind
      are increasingly seen to be nothing but humorous.

      THREE WAYS OF NEGATIVE ACTIONS:

      There are only three ways in which negative actions operating against
      the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) can play out:

      1) DOING IT YOURSELF: You can carry out that negative action
      yourself, acting in ways that are contrary to the principles such as
      those suggested in the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32).

      2) RECRUITING ANOTHER PERSON: You can get some other person to carry
      out the action for you, either with or without the knowledge of
      anybody else. This sometimes provides a false sense of not being
      responsible for the action.

      3) APPROVING OF ANOTHER PERSON'S ACTION: You can simply wait for some
      other person to carry out a negative action of which you approve.
      This is like feeling happiness when some perceived enemy gets the
      consequences you think he or she deserves.

      EFFECTS OF ALL THREE ARE THE SAME:

      Whether you do it yourself, have somebody else do it, or only approve
      of it, the internal consequences of these negative actions are the
      same. In all three cases, the coloring (klishta, 2.3) of your deep
      impressions or samskaras is the same. You bear the burden of that
      coloring for future karmas to play out.

      THREE MENTAL STATES:

      In moving against the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32), there are
      three associated mental states. The three are unique directions, and
      are important to be aware of and witness in oneself. Anger is
      symptomatic of pushing against; greed is symptomatic of pulling
      towards; and delusion is a confused state of mind. To be ever mindful
      in a non-obsessive way of these three possibilities is very useful.

      1) ANGER: Anger is symptomatic of pushing against, or of aversion
      (dvesha), one of the five kleshas (2.3). Pushing against or aversion
      is one of two directions, the other of which is pulling towards.
      Notice in the article on karma and its sources that unfulfilled
      desires lead to anger and related emotions.

      2) GREED: Greed is symptomatic of pulling towards, or of attraction
      (raga), another of the five kleshas (2.3). Pulling towards or
      attraction is one of two directions, the other of which is pushing
      against. Notice in the article on karma and its sources that
      fulfilled desires lead to greed and related emotions.

      3) DELUSION: Delusion is a general state of mind that might also
      accompany the negative actions, speech, and thoughts that run
      contrary to the Yamas and Niyamas (2.33).

      THREE INTENSITIES:

      The three intensities are known purely subjectively, and are
      relatively easy to see with practice:

      1) MILD: Those not-useful tendencies opposed to the Yamas and Niyamas
      (2.33), which are mild can be minimized or attenuated through
      meditation, as described in sutra 2.11, eventually using the razor-
      sharp discrimination of samyama (3.4-3.6). There may be a temptation
      to disregard these tendencies because they are mild. However, getting
      such thoughts to a mild state so that they can then be further
      reduced in meditation is an important part of the process of breaking
      the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25). For mild tendencies, it is
      extremely useful to remind oneself how the tendency is not-useful, as
      described above in sutra 2.33.

      2) MODERATE: Those negative or not-useful tendencies opposed to the
      Yamas and Niyamas (2.33), which are mild can be dealt with somewhat
      as with the mild tendencies, and somewhat as with the intense
      tendencies. It is important to note that one desires to bring the
      moderate tendencies down to the mild tendency, so that these might be
      dealt with in the inner chamber of meditation.

      3) INTENSE: Those not-useful or negative tendencies, which are
      intense might be very difficult to attenuate through meditation
      alone, although it might be possible with intense dedication and
      determination. Most often, people find themselves in an internal
      mental fight when trying to deal with the intense tendencies during
      meditation. What is more available and extremely useful for most
      people is to frequently remind oneself how the tendency is not-
      useful, as described above in sutra 2.33. It is also very useful to
      practice the means of stabilizing and clearing the mind as described
      in sutras 1.30-1.32 and 1.33-1.39, particularly making the mind one-
      pointed as described in sutra 1.32. The practices of kriya yoga,
      described in sutras 2.1-2.9 should also be practiced.

      ACTIONS, SPEECH, AND THOUGHTS:

      The 27 types of negativity can involve actions, speech, or thoughts,
      or some combination of them. One needs to be ever vigilant of these
      in daily life and at meditation time. This vigilant self-awareness is
      done not with obsessiveness, guilt or self-condemnation, but with
      gentleness, acceptance, and love towards oneself.

      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras.htm
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