img 2·4 Avidyā kṣetram uttareṣām prasupta-tanu-vicchina-udārāṇām

2·4 Avidyā kṣetram uttareṣām prasupta-tanu-vicchina-udārāṇām

28 - 02 - 2015
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Avidyā is the source of the others, whether dormant, attenuated, interrupted, or active

This sutra establishes a key element to understand the theory of kleshas: all kleshas are generated by avidyā; and when coped with, they all conduct back to avidyā - 'thinking to know', 'illusory knowledge' or nescience. All kleshas are but varieties of nescience, because all of them are permeated by delusion. When an object is coloured by nescience, it is followed by the other kleshas. These are experienced whenever there is nescience and they dwindle away when nescience is attenuated. (Vyasa commentary on 2.4, Swami Hariharananda Aranya, Yoga philosophy of Patañjali, p.119)

The second essential notion given by this sutra is that the kleshas are embedded in the human condition. There is (almost) no way to delete them, but we can certainly render them infertile knowing that under specific circumstances, all kleshas can explode again, even if they have been latent for long periods of time. This is sharp alert to the sadhaka: kleshas do not disappear, the practitioner must always be alert and never stop practicing kriya yoga, which is the real antidote to the propagation of the Kleshas (Klesha-vrtti).

According to Patañjali, the kleshas can assume four states: dormant, attenuated, interrupted or active.

A klesha is at a dormant ...
img 2·3 Avidyā asmitā rāga dveśa abhiniveśāḥ kleśāḥ

2·3 Avidyā asmitā rāga dveśa abhiniveśāḥ kleśāḥ

27 - 11 - 2014
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Nescience, I-am-ness, attachment, aversion and the fear-to-die are the Kleshas
In this Sutra Patanjali starts a scientific and meticulous explanation of one of the main pillars in his science of yoga: the theory of kleshas. This discussion will accompany us for 22 more sutras. The first and main message to our Western minds is that the science of yoga could never be supported by speculative approaches, as in Western philosophy. Yoga is a matter of practice, and the only understanding of its deeper realities can come as a result of personal experimentation and self-realization. “To think that you know” is therefore the first klesha.

When you enter your yoga practice, the first thing you learn is that you don’t know, and that what you thought you knew came from others and isn’t of any use for your own happiness.

That is why avidya is the first klesha, the one from where the others originate. Avidya is the opposite of vidya, which is true knowledge or science. In the context of yoga, science and knowledge have nothing to do with “intellectual comprehension”. Knowledge comes from experimentation, from life, from practice. Anthony de Mello tells a nice story about this concept:
Uwais, the Sufi, was once asked:

“What has Grace brought you?”
He replied:
“When I wake in the morning I feel like a man who is not sure he will live till evening.”
Said the questioner:< ...
img 2.2 Samādhi-bhāvanā-arthaḥ kleśa-tanū-karaṇa-arthaḥ ca

2.2 Samādhi-bhāvanā-arthaḥ kleśa-tanū-karaṇa-arthaḥ ca

24 - 11 - 2014
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[Kriya yoga] has the purpose of cultivating Samadhi as also the purpose of attenuating the Kleshas.

When the vibration of our hearts and the one of our minds are out of tune, a klesha is interfering. In the sutra I.24 Patanjali established the principle according to which Ishvara is that who is not touched by the Kleshas: from this principle we learn that being afflicted by a Klesha means being far from Ishvara.

Though Klesha is not pain, it is the root of the pain, its origin. Some would affirm that the Klesha is the oriental version of “sin”. But sin is connected to guilt, while kleshas have nothing to share with guilt. As sin, Kleshas are embedded in our human condition, but while sin generates guilt, keshas generate pain.

Although our will to keep steady in the path of yoga, sometimes our old habits, our memories and subconscious inclinations (samskaras) can take over, clog our way and even produce more negative karma. Agni, the fire of knowledge, has the power to render infertile our sources of affliction (klesha) through practice (abhyasa) and detachment (vairagya). But this does not depend solely on will (tapas) – an act of grace is necessary to be able to turn the circle of karma from vicious to virtuous. That is the way of Kriya yoga: tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranidhana.

The Sanscrit word “ca”, meaning “and” explains to us that yoga is a twofold path – ...
img 2·1 Tapa&#7717; Sv&#257;dhy&#257;ya-I&#347;hvara-Pra&#7751;idh&#257;n&#257;ni Kriy&#257;-Yoga&#7717;

2·1 Tapaḥ Svādhyāya-Iśhvara-Praṇidhānāni Kriyā-Yogaḥ

15 - 09 - 2014
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Kriya Yoga consists in the practice of Tapah, Svadhyaya and Ishvara Pranidhana
Sometimes we doubt whether we will have the strength and the discipline to keep up our practice, to walk straight in the hard path which is the life of a yogi. Kriya yoga is the action that removes that doubt. Kriya yoga is the action that transforms our lives in a ritual of service. Kriya yoga is the action that allows us to discover the vocation to purity that lies within every human heart. Kriya yoga is the door to the practice, the fundament, the root of any yoga action: Tapah, Svdhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana. Whenever you keep your attention to your solar plexus, meditate on the nature of Tapah. When you breathe to the center of your heart, contemplate the quality of Svadhyaya. When you concentrate your attention to the space between your eyebrows, practice Isvara Pranidhana. The term Kriya Yoga appears in several contexts in the framework of the Yoga tradition. Kriya comes from the Sanskrit root KR which means “action”. Patñajali presents it opening the “Sadhana Pada” (Chapter on the Practice). Just after closing the first chapter on “Samadhi”, he explains an “active” way to get there: Kriya yoga – the actions necessary reach Samadhi. In Hatha Yoga the term may also refer to the Shatkarmas, purificatory exercises for the body. In Tantra Yoga, as we all know, Kriya describes purification exercises for the subtle body, which combine ...