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Yoga Sutras 1.5: Five kinds of Colored and Uncolored Thoughts

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.5: Five kinds of Colored and Uncolored Thoughts http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10511.htm#1.5 (Useful graphics are shown at this link
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2005
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      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.5:
      Five kinds of Colored and Uncolored Thoughts
      (Useful graphics are shown at this link along with text)

      YOGA SUTRA 1.5: Those gross and subtle thought patterns (vrittis)
      fall into five varieties, of which some are colored (klishta) and
      others are uncolored (aklishta).
      (vrittayah pancatayah klishta aklishta)

      VRITTAYAH = the vrittis are

      PANCATAYAH = five fold (and of two kinds); panch means five

      KLISHTA = colored, painful, afflicted, impure; the root klish means
      to cause trouble; (klesha is the noun form of the adjective klishta)

      AKLISHTA = uncolored, not painful, not afflicted, pure; not imbued
      with kleshas; the root a- means without or in the absence of; hence,
      without the coloring called klishta

      introduces the nature of the five kinds of thoughts and the fact that
      they are either colored (klishta) or not colored (aklishta) suggests
      the entire process of Yoga. In that process you gradually,
      systematically set aside all of the false identities that cloud over
      the true Self. This uncoloring process is an extremely important
      concept, and is further dealt with in the later chapters (2.1-2.9,

      Some thoughts are colored with attraction or aversion, while some
      other thoughts are uncolored or neutral.

      CHOICE OF WORD PAIRS: The words klishta and aklishta are a pair of
      words that are in contrast with one another. With the "a-" in front
      of klishta, it becomes aklishta. Thus, colored (klishta) becomes
      uncolored (aklishta). Translating these as colored and not colored
      gives a certain meaning, or feel to the words. The reason for
      emphasizing the translation of colored and uncolored is that it can
      more directly be perceived as related to the thought patterns
      (vrittis) that are the stuff of which the clouds over the Self are
      made. In other words, the vritti is colored by the klishta process,
      so to speak. It is like the way a black and white child's coloring
      book picture might be colored by a particular water color (klishta).
      Framing the problem this way also suggests the solution, which is to
      remove the coloring (aklishta).

      MEANINGS OF KLISHTA AND AKLISHTA: Several other word pairs have been
      used to describe klishta and aklishta, and each adds a certain flavor
      to the meaning. When holding the notion of colored and uncolored for
      klishta and aklishta, it might be useful to remember these other word
      pairs as well:

      klishta -- aklishta
      painful -- not painful
      not useful -- useful
      afflicted -- not afflicted
      impure -- pure
      troubled -- not troubled
      negative -- positive
      vice -- virtue
      away from enlightenment -- towards enlightenment
      resulting in bondage -- resulting in freedom

      described how we come to know our true Self, and explained that when
      we are not experiencing that Reality, we are identified with, or
      entangled with the many levels and layers of our mental content.
      These entanglements are all part of these five thought patterns,
      whether being one, or some combination of the five. They are either
      colored or uncolored.

      THOUGHTS ARE GROSS OR SUBTLE: These thought patterns are not just the
      day to day thoughts we experience; this notion of thought patterns
      (vrittis) is both gross and also extremely subtle. The meaning
      becomes gradually clearer with practice of the methods.

      WITNESSING THE COLORING: To observe the coloring of our thought
      patterns is one of the most useful practices of Yoga, and can be done
      throughout the day. This meditation in action, or mindfulness, can be
      of tremendous value in clearing the clouded mind, so that during your
      seated meditation time, that practice can go much deeper.

      HOW TO WITNESS COLORING: To observe the coloring of thoughts simply
      means that when a thought and its emotion arises, you simply say
      that, "This is colored," or "This is not colored." Similarly, to
      notice whether some decision or action is useful or not useful brings
      great control over your habits of mind. It is simply observing, and
      saying to yourself, "This is useful," or "This is not useful."

      THE PROCESS OF UNCOLORING: Yoga rests on the two foundations of
      Abhyasa an Vairagya (practice and non-attachment; sutras 1.12-1.16).
      Then the seer rests in its True nature (1.3). Here, the subtler means
      of dealing directly with those attachments is introduced, by
      observing that the five kinds of thought patterns are either klishta
      or aklishta, colored or not colored. The process of uncoloring the
      deep impressions unfolds in stages. We need to gradually stabilize
      the mind and weaken the colorings, so that we might start to get some
      glimpses of that which is beyond all of those thought impressions and
      their colorings. To better understand the process, take a look at the
      Chapter Outlines, which include the following:


      Efforts and commitment (1.19-1.22)
      Obstacles and solutions (1.30-1.32)
      Stabilizing and clearing the mind (1.33-1.39)
      Minimizing gross coloring (2.1-2.9)
      Dealing with subtle thoughts (2.10-2.11)
      Breaking the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25)
      The 8 rungs and discrimination (2.26-2.29)
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