An Introduction to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Patanjali defines Yoga as the cessation of mental modifications and identifies its main purpose as to still the mind in order to perceive one's true nature.
He stresses the importance of discipline, self-control, and devotion as necessary qualities for a successful yoga practice.
"Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrittis)."
Patanjali introduces the concept of Kriya Yoga, which consists of self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to a higher power.
He discusses the five afflictions or Kleshas that prevent people from realizing their true nature: ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and fear of death.
1. Ignorance (Avidya):
Ignorance is the root cause of suffering and prevents people from realizing their true nature.
It is the mistaken identification of the self with the body, mind, and senses, rather than the true self which is pure consciousness.
Ignorance can be overcome through the practice of self-study and gaining knowledge of the true nature of the self.
2. Egoism (Asmita):
Egoism is the identification of the self with the individual ego, leading to a sense of separateness from others and the divine.
It is overcome through the practice of selflessness and surrender to a higher power.
"When the yogi loses all sense of separateness, then he attains to the state of absolute freedom."
3. Attachment (Raga):
Attachment is the desire for pleasure and clinging to pleasurable experiences, which leads to suffering when those experiences end.
It is overcome through the practice of detachment and non-attachment, recognizing that all things are impermanent and subject to change.
"When one is free from all attachments, then he attains to the state of absolute freedom."
4. Aversion (Dvesha):
Aversion is the dislike or aversion to u