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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Artwork
Season 13 - Episode 3

Sutra 2.35

30 min - Talk


In Sutras 2.35-2.45, Patanjali provides a sort of prescription of how to cultivate the Yamas and Niyamas, telling us what we will experience when we are more established in each of these principles. Sutra 2.35, ahimsa pratishthayam tat sannidhau vaira-tyagah, starts with the first of the Yamas, ahimsa, and says that when this principle is firmly established in a person, hostility will dissolve in and around them.
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Feb 03, 2024
Jnana, Raja
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So potentially has told us that it's through the constant regular cultivation of these 8 mutually supportive members of the body of yoga practice, the Ashtanga, the eight limbs, that we can bring our awareness to that state of luminous clarity that's gonna help us actually see more clearly our true essence, and so be able to avoid this pain that is to be avoided and remove this unnecessary suffering that we can actively help to remove. And when Potanix has introduced the eight limbs, he's told us that the James, the first of the eight limbs, are the great vow. To be observed and cultivated at all times in all places, in all situations, regardless of anything else. Also, Niyama has followed closely upon those James. And so we can understand that they if they're not quite as prime as the young ones, they're also something we want to be constantly cultivating in our yoga practice.

And then, potentially, just told us what to do when we find ourselves troubled by thoughts or inclinations to do things which would be himsadia. Which would cause harm, cause pain, cause unnecessary suffering. The first of the James is uhinsa. And in Vyas's commentary, he says that all of the other James and Niyamas they are for the purpose of actually facilitating, promoting, fortifying uhimsa. Herimsa, harmony, the absence of harm, the absence of suffering, the absence of pain, the absence of that which would cause suffering.

Sometimes referred to as non violence, sometimes referred to as non harming, but an active positive principle. So this is what all of the James and Niyamas are aiming to deepen. But what happens at those moments in life when we find ourselves, for example, we might be under the grip of fear or rage or some type of negativity, and we feel perturbed. We feel in consternated. We don't feel in that harmonious vibration.

And we might find ourselves feeling inclination to do something, which deep down we know isn't going to bring us the type of result we would really like. So what to do in those types of situation? Pratyaksha Baminam. Potentially, that introduces this beautiful principle of Pratyaksha Baminam. Some of those people talk about Pratipaksha Babiner is when I'm feeling something negative, cultivate the opposite, cultivate the counter force. And at first glance, sometimes people think, yeah, but wait a minute.

When I am in the grip of anger or grief. Let's say it's anger, for example. That's the hardest point of the whole range of my experience to actually cultivate that deep serenity. Or if I'm feeling very, sad, That's the hardest time ever to fear your joy. So this remember what botanically has told us already about yoga practice.

It's a constant, steady, unbroken effort. So the idea is in order to make it easier, for us to cultivate the counter force to those tendencies that might pull us into the ways of suffering and needless pain, all the while, As our day to day ongoing practice, let us cultivate, let us promote the counter force to those tendencies that might drive us down the pathways of needless suffering and endless pain. By what he's gonna tell us how to do now. So he's told us, as introduced Pratyaksha Bavanah, all these different ways, that these pain inducing or pain causing ways of being, how they happen and what they produce, He says they can be mild, medium, or intense. He says they can be done, caused to be done, or just allowed to be done.

They are preceded by Loeba, Croda, and Moha. So, Loeba, that troubling feeling, we want we're desiring something we're not getting. Croda, there is some charge, some trigger, some type of anger or frustration. And, Mohan, consequent to that, there is this delusion, this and we forget the lessons we've learned. What is the consequence of acting in this way? Endless pain and further clouding of our awareness and chaining us to the ways of ignorance and vailing and partiality.

So if we can possibly avoid that, let's avoid it. But now, as potentially starts to elaborate in sutra 35, all the way through to sutra 45, what's gonna happen next? Potania's gonna talk to us about The effects of becoming more and more established in each of the James and the neyamas. And what we'll see is this is actually a further elaboration of what it means to practice predipaksha Babinet. So it's not just when I'm in a difficult situation, when I'm feeling troubled or perturbed or inclined to do something that I know deep down is not in my own highest interest. Not just then, do I try to cultivate the counter force?

But here, as potentially lays out, what we will experience when we become established in each of the James and the Naiamas. He's also giving us as it were a kind of prescription for how we can also cultivate more of that establishment in the Amazan than Yamaz who's describing the state of being established in the Amaz and the Neyamas, the fruits of the practice and establishment in those principles, but he's also giving us kind of a map, an encouraging map and a frame of reference to help us really understand, am I actually cultivating more of that principle? What and maybe prompting us to recognize some of the things that we could do to help us become more established in that principle. And he begins with Ahinssar, which as we've mentioned already, this is the first of the James, and the Yammer for which all of the others are in tended to help us become more and more established in. So Sutra 35 potentially says, Vaira.

So Ahimsa, non harming, non violence, or stated as a positive injunction, that cultivation of harmony, that harmonious state of love and acceptance and harmony and wellness, when there is the establishment in that, when one is close to that, the person who's established in Ahinsa, Veda, which means hostility, immunity, Tiagaha. Tiagaha means it is relinquished. It fades away. So when a person is established, fully established in Ahinsa, In that person's presence, all hostility evaporates is relinquished, is renounced fades away. Remember we've already said, if we can become established in Ahinssal, then we're established in yoga.

So through this suit, we can also understand that when a person is fully established in yoga, balance, harmony, integration. That person's energetic field will be resonating with such a force of harmony that it will have a harmonizing, pacifying influence on everything comes within its vicinity. And this is something that's been reported by many of the last in the 20th century. There were quite a few great masters in the Indian, in the lands that we now call Indian. And, for example, There was a great sage called Brahman and the Salaswati.

And the people wanted to make him the the Shankaracharya, the head of the Shankar Arya mission, but he wasn't interested in a functionary title. He was much more interested in Deep Samadhi in a more secluded place. But people were aware of his physical being and his presence. As long as people go and try to see him. And sometimes is not the only one. There are some other great mystics and great masters like this too, and there are similar stories about many of them.

Politicians, scientists, skeptics, seekers, people are burning questions. And they think, oh, if this holy man is all is cracked up to be, he'll be able to give me the answer. And so sometimes these people would go to visit these great masters because they have this question or these questions that they want answering. And time and again, what happens is that these people would go to see the great master. And as soon as they would get into the presence, or even the vicinity of the great master, they would find that all their questions faded away because the force of that person's harmony, the established yogurt's harmony was such that it dissolved all of those things that would cause fragmentation or doubt.

The commentary suggests that the force of the established persons are Hinsai's such that it extends to all beings, all beings in whom there is prana, in whom life force is moving. And so it said that the stake in the mongoose the cat and the rat, they just kind of, like the lion and the lamb, they lie down together happily. In each other's presence in the presence of the person who's established in Now, when we hear something like this, you can think, Boag, That sounds a bit far out here to be in such a state where if I'm established in a Hinsa, I can walk into some place of conflict, and that conflict we'll cease, for example. But we have to remember that Potentially Boag yoga Sutra is very comprehensive, and it speaks to us wherever we are. At once, what potentially is doing here is he is describing the fully realized yogurt, the one who's fully established in each of these James on Yamas.

And at the same time, he's also describing what we will notice more of as we cultivate these principles. So It may not be the case that, like, for example, for myself, I'm not established in Ahinsa. It's not the case that wherever I go, all hostility ceases, And then how do I know that? Because there is still hostility within myself. Sometimes I do things that are not really good for me. Sometimes I lapse into attitudes or thought forms that are not ready for my own good, but if I consider this sutra and I consider this teachings, the idea, well, when I notice that, what can I do about it?

And so as I notice, I can start to affect or invite a remedy a little bit more quickly. But also in my own life, I have had the experience that when I have entered a potentially hostile situation, from a steadier, calmer, more peaceful place, I've been pleasantly surprised how harmoniously the interaction has gone. Similarly, I have also seen at a relatively microcosmic level, but, for example, in a small community, or in a school environment. If there is a person who is really establishing that harmonious vibration, their influence can really spread out very, very powerfully. So we're all aware how negative influences can poison the field of the water quite readily.

I understand that because there are various evolutionary factors that go back many, many, many, many generations, and even before we were human beings in the form that we are now, that mean we tend to place more emphasis on things that would do as harm. So we do notice more keenly things that would be negative. And so we're all aware how a negative influence can be per pernicious and spread. But it is also the case that a positive harmonizing, pacifying influence can be utterly contagious And we can put this to the test in the arena of our own practice. If we muster the will and the courage and the determination to regularly steadily invite ourselves into a place or greater calm or greater wholeness.

If patiently steadily, we invite all of ourselves to come and sit together in harmony, which is basically what we do in many yogic practices. We start to get attuned and we get a kind of familiarity with that baseline of greater harmony. So what I noticed, for example, when I first began meditating quite a long time ago now, at that time when I would come home from work, I would turn on music. I like singing. I would sing along and all that. But I noticed once I began to meditate that I became much more content in quiet because I'd been managing to cut, like, that what was the songs doing?

The songs singing is one of my favorite yoga practices. And I often say that the practice of Kietan, it reaches the part that other techniques are not able to always reach so easily because it works with sound, which is pervasive, and it penetrates right through to all ourselves. So when I would sing, when I still sing, it has this bathe. It's like a way to bathe all myself. It's like a way to release and shift energy.

But similarly with subtle internal practices, this is also fine tuning our vibration. And so what I experienced for myself was that I was able to access that place of calm, a little bit more easier than I was before. It was like I'd introduced my system to a commonplace that it hadn't had so much exposure to in the past. And once my system had become familiar with that, then it's like, well, I know that that is possible. And having been exposed to that influence, Then I notice myself getting unnecessarily perturbed more easily than I used to.

So now, 20 years later, something like that. Almost not quite. Almost 20 years. Sometimes I still find myself, feeling very troubled or feeling anger or feeling grief or feeling emotions, not just feeling them, but being disturbed by them. But what I've noticed with practice is I'm able to catch myself a little bit sooner, and so apply Pretipaksha Bhavanah apply the remedy a little bit more quickly than maybe I would have been able to in the past.

And this is what they say in the yoga tradition. Sometimes when people read or hear descriptions of a yogurtian who's always calm, who's always serene, who's able to navigate all types of situations with the same attitude. 1 can have the mispercept that this means that the yogurt is a bit like an automaton and very boring, flat, but it's not really like that. What it The idea is that what happens is the yogurt meets all types of situation, lovely and horrific, in the same way, not because that person meets them like a kind of, like a robot, but rather meets them with the same depth of presence. And then there's the idea one will feel the highs more acutely. One will feel the lows more acutely.

But they won't leave the at the same type of residue. It's the idea that the greater we are, the more we are present, we'll be able to then move forwards from those experiences more freely. So the first time I heard it teacher attributed it to Mari Shimai Shogi. And he gave this illustration. He said, you know, it's like, York is very practical.

It recognizes that every impression It inscribes a mark in our awareness. So if we think of our awareness as a surface, He says, like, in the field of the awareness of the average person, those lines of each impression, the impression is like a line scrap in granite. Now, granite's a very hard rock. So how deep is the line that's etched in the granite not deep at all. But how easy is it to remove that impression?

It's carved in granite, so it takes a lot of effort. You have to really scrub for a long time. And then there's the idea for the person who's practicing regularly. Who's taking recourse to the cultivation of yoga and the cultivation of a Hinsa, who's inviting that recalibration to that more harmonious balanced integrated state. Then we're starting to get a little bit more of a handle on the way that our awareness can be pulled here and there, and we're tuning into this place, this center, this home base, this place that we can operate from that's more grounded. It's a bit more firmly rooted.

That's a bit more robust. And so as we keep practicing, now it's like these impressions because we're more present, they go deeper. And so now it's like a line that's not etched in granite, but is drawn in wet sand. So imagine you're able to go to the beach and you're just using your finger and you're drawing in the sand. How deep does the finger go in?

Compared to granite, It's going in very deep, but still not that deep. And compared to granite, how easy is it to remove the line drawn in the sand? Very easy, but still it might take many waves for that line to be completely effaced. And let's say the the more established you're in. So now are they almost fully established jargon? Now it's like the lines are drawn in the water.

So if this is the surface of the water and I'm drawing the line with my finger, how deep does the finger go in all the way? It's the impression I feel it fully. But how easily is that line removed? It's kind of naturally automatically removed in relatively short order of time. Let me say the fully established Jorgen who's completely free that the lines are in the air.

But all this is to say, as we keep practicing, We will experience a force of harmony, which will allow us to overcome more and more challenging situations. So when we encounter things that could disturb us in the external world, We'll be able to navigate them that little bit more easier than before, and it might just be little step by step, but over the years I'm I'm navigating those things a little bit better than I might have done in the past. And this also applies to the work that we do internally in the field of our own being, as we are seeking to harmonize this field of our own sovereign realm. We may, as we're practicing, find ourselves encountering habits tendencies, patterns that we have long the harbor inside that are not really serving us. And when they rise to the surface, this can bring war.

This can be, this can bring battle, this can bring struggle, and it can sometimes be particularly difficult to acknowledge admit and digest the reality that we have perhaps been, for example, willfully blind of patterns that we have been carrying out, carrying on that actually that actually aren't any good for us. It can be really hard to digest that man Oh, I've been self sabotaging extremely for so long. I've got to this stage of my life and like, oh, man, for for a year, for 10 years, for 20 years, for 50 years, I've been doing something that isn't really what I would deep down long for. That can be quite upsetting for the system, and this can trigger These harmful reactions could trigger a type of anger or frustration or dejection or a feeling of hopelessness that I've been trapped in this for so long. And so what do we need to do steadily, patiently, lovingly, again and again, keep inviting ourselves back to that place of a Hinsa, of yoga, of harmony, of balance, and integration, And that humor and that that good heart, like, that's that warm heartiness can be so effective here.

One thing that again, in the very early years of my meditation practice when I was when I was living in close proximity to my teaching, I had an interesting experience where I reacted in a kind of crazy way to something, and then I laughed at myself reacting like that. I said, I told my teacher about it. I said, yeah, this is a classic example. This is an old habit that just got released because when you were able to see yourself reacting like that and then laugh at yourself, the fact that you're able to laugh at yourself that allowed the mind to recognize that the change had happened. So that's a way that we can witness the old habit being released and that is ourselves, perhaps becoming that little bit more established in Ahintza.

Something would come up that potentially in the past would have triggered me into a kind of hostile or aggressive response, and now I'm laughing at myself. So I've diffused that potential bomb. That part of myself, that part of my psych used to be a minefield, but now I'm no longer triggered by that. So I'm moving towards a hinter, and they have a long, long way till to go to become established in Mahinsa, but as I practice, while notice is that hostility ceases in my presence a little bit more than it used to, and I'll be able to move through those things a little bit more skillfully. Now, one of the thing I wanted to say about this sutra that I find very interesting, so if we look at the language here, it says Ahimsa, British Ayam, So there's a well, there are several very interesting things.

And I have to be careful when I'm speaking about these supers on yammer, yammer, because I will be very clear. Well, let me acknowledge it clearly. We could easily easily spend more than 2 hours speaking about each of these sutras. 20 hours easily. So I will try to be concise, but there's a couple of linguistic points I'd like to highlight in relation to this sutra. And This is the way that potentially has phrased it.

There's so many ways you could say proximate or close to or near to in Sanskrit. If tangent is used, Sannidaw, which is the locative form of Sanidi. Now, NidI in Sanskrit means treasure or a hoard something that is concealed in a secret place. So what what this evokes is that the more that we can establish ourselves in peacefulness, the more we will be carrying around with us this secret treasure, that can bless anything we come into contact with. As a person becomes more and more established in that steadiness, that peacefulness, then they are a walking treasure.

This idea, which some we find in many traditions there of like the shadow of a saint maybe you've, come across this idea. There's a beautiful story. I think it's a Sophie story, originally. And there's a great saint and god appears to the saint. And god says, I would like to grant you a boon.

You're you're you're blessing the world, and the the saint says, I don't need anything. I'm very happy to serve you, and god says, no. No. No. I insist. I'm the same stuff. I don't need anything. No. No. No.

You must You must ask for anything you like, and so the saint poses for a moment. And then says to the almighty. He says, okay. Let it be like this. May anything that I pass, anything that falls within my shadow may it be blessed and come closer to you? So this is that same idea.

Anything that comes within its proximity is going to feel the benefit of that harmonizing influence. And then how does Potentially describe the relinquishment of hostilities is. So which means hostility, it is related to the word Vira and Vira. Now Vira means a hero. It means a human being who is mustering the heroic courage and valor to wrestle with all that it means to be human. And so what I also feel is encoded in this sutra is that in order for us to become established in Ihinsa, we have to walk that heroic path of wrestling with our own innate capacity to be inimical to ourselves and to cause unnecessary softening suffering, 2 or 4 ourselves and others.

But by facing those shadowy tendencies, by facing those capacities inside to cause harm. We can also fortify our capacity to be steady and exert a pacifying influence. We can also uncover these amazing capacities we have to actually reconcile, to actually include, to actually meet hostility from a place of steadiness. And so this, we've mentioned Ahinzah, is the first part of that great vow, the essential practice, the obligatory practice that Patanji is laid out in chapter 2, and it reminds that the essential practice is laid out in chapter 1, Maithri Karanam Ritaanopayksha, that steadiness. So when we, and remember back to chapter 1 as well, at Shaddhar Viriya, Smriti Samari, Pragya Polvakirreisham, the 20th Sutra.

The essential qualities for practice, you gotta have that faith, that confidence, that conviction, and that heroic valor. But when with heroic valor, with diligence, with persistence, with perseverance. We cultivate this steadiness. Then we will bring forth our innate capacity to exude an energy of Ahintza and to kind of saturate the field the lake, the ocean of our being with that harmonizing vibration. Vivia is that essential quality for yoga practice, and it takes us back to that idea of constancy to keep making that effort.

When we read a description of, yeah, in that person's presence, all hostility ceases, the people who've been sworn enemies, they loosen, and they recognize their shared humanity, and they realize, oh, yeah. We've been fixated on these little things that we disagree about. We're actually the so much that we would actually like in common. And in that person's presence, they're able to see that. And from seeing that, find a way to actually reconcile things which previously seemed impossible to reconcile.

And this is one of the things that Boag all about. Yoga works with the pairs of opposites that can seem like their opposing forces to actually bring them together and enable a lasting sustainable piece. So just let's do our best to keep cultivating our concern. In every way we can day by day step by step.


Kate M
2 people like this.
I was just thinking of the image of a wing... and thinking that a bird definitely needs 2 of them to get off the ground. So... using the pairs of opposites skillfully can get us up off the ground, soaring to new heights!

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