Yoga Information

Pain and Sorrow

Patanjali in his Yogasutra describes that people are afflicted with five kinds of pain. These are - ignorance(avidya), attachment(raga), contempt(dvesha) and fear of death(abhinivesh)(II.3). However ignorance is the ground for the germination of all other pain and so long as ignorance is not rooted out through self-knowledge pain remains in one form or the other.

What is ignorance? Patanjali describes - to consider ephemeral(anitya) as eternal, falsity(ashuchi) as truth, sorrow(duhkha) as pleasure and soulless(anatman) as soul is ignorance(II.5). Things which the senses perceive have no real existence. These are ephemeral and false. These things inflict sorrow to those who believe in their reality. Hell, heaven, angels, ghosts or imaginary God have no real existence. All those religious symbols, statues of Gods and Goddesses have no real existence. The real power lies in the soul of every being. It is the illumination of souls by which everything illuminates. Things which have life and soul are real and existent. Matter which is lifeless is unreal and does not exist. Matter exists in the consciousness of living beings only.

Egoism develops when all visible powers accumulate(II.6). There are two powers - one is the power of soul and other is the power of visible things. Wealth power, ruling power, muscle power or atomic power are visible and are unreal. These are the manifestations of soul power only. Atomic power manifests when we invest huge amount in it; wealth power manifests when we work hard and earn it; ruling power manifests when a ruling few create fear in masses. All these powers are unreal and one who believes in their reality becomes a egoist and suffers from pain.

Similarly, because of ignorance, people develop attachment to unreal things considering them as real and blissful; people develop contemt and look down upon real and blissful things. At present, people are more and more attracted towards material gain, while they develop indifference or even contemt towards family, friends and other living beings. Soul, life and consciousness are only real and existent. We should be attracted towards them only.

Fear of death is highly painful. Patanjali describes - even those wise men who believe only in natural laws are afflicted with the fear of death and are no better than fools(II.9). Learned and wise men see and believe in the natural cycles of birth and death, sunrise and sunset, summer and winter and the cycle of water in rivers. However one should bear in mind that natural cycles or laws govern only material world. These cycles are not at par with the cycle of birth and death. Material world cannot deviate from natural laws, but man can deviate from everything. The mind of man cannot be subjugated by external forces. Mind and soul are unborn and eternal. As we change dresses, so the soul enters into different bodies as it wishes. So the fear of death is unfounded. As we go to dreaming and sleeping states, so we go to after world from the present world. As we go to dreaming and sleeping states whenever we wish, so we may go to after world depending upon our willingness. Through the practice of Yoga we should make our will power strong and keep it under control. Fear of death is avoidable and can be brought under control.

All thoughts which generate due to ignorance and cause pain may be avoided through meditation(II.11). In meditation a practitioner should try to rest in true self. True self is the home and reality of all. When one slips down from this reality. one succumbs to pail and misery. True self is blissful which only gives eternal pleasure.

Patanjali describes that the root cause of pain is desire to act. When there is action there is pain and sorrow, because action is succeeded by fruit of action which may be pleasure or pain. Virtuous deeds give rise to pleasure and happiness, whereas evil deeds give rise to pain and sorrow. So one should act thinking what to receive. None, even God gives fruit of action. The Twin Towers of New York was demolished due to the evil deeds of terrorists. While man can do whatever he wishes, there is none who may check him. Only man can check another man. For this impending pain and sorrow is avoidable. If Intelligence Agency would have been more vigilent, the demolition of Twin Towers would have been averted.

People desire more and act more. By this they invite sorrow. This impending sorrow is avoidable. So long as we do not know the cause of this impending sorrow, we cannot avoid it. Yogasutra describes the cause as - the union of seer and sight is the cause of this impending and avoidable sorrow(II.17). In deep sleep there is no desire and no action and for this there is no sorrow. In deep sleep seer and sight become one. There is none other than the self. For this one sees nothing and hear nothing. It is the blissful state. Even a cancer patient feels the bliss of deep sleep.

For learning more aphorisms relating to pain and sorrow and learning more about Yoga, readers may go through my book "quest for truth: the spiritual and yogic way"

Author Premansu Chand, 40, has published his first book "Quest for Truth: the spiritual and yogic way" recently. So far five articles have been published with relating to Yoga. If readers find these interpretations as rational and worth learning, they may email to the author in order to encourage him.


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