Sunday, February 23, 2014

क्लेश कर्म विपाकाशयैः

The title of the note transliterated in English reads 'kleśa karma vipāka-āśayaiḥ'. The common meaning for the above words is give below.

Klesa : painful , afflicted, impure
Karma : actions
Vipaka : consequences
Asayaih : resting place , storage of traces , propensities

This is the first half of one of the foundational yoga sutras (chapter 1, sutra 24). These days, whenever I teach any adult (individuals who display a certain level of maturity and independence with which I can dialogue), I start with an exploration of the above four words and its relationship with Yoga. This sutra explores how many of our actions (individual / social) are caught up in endless cycles. It is best to see a few examples.

Example1 - Stress

Most of us can quickly identify this in us. If you are not working in a field that you truly like and if you are not disciplined enough there, you will flow through this energy and life sapping cycle often.

Example2 - Poverty

We can see this often in the world outside us. That is, only if we are alert to this. Mostly we are not for the story of our lives itself is so energy sapping for us that we seldom get to see this.

Example 3 - Capitalism / World Bank induced

If you are not keenly observing the direction in which societies and economies in the world are taking, this can be missed easily.

Whether something is a cycle or not is partly objective and partly subjective. To figure out the cycles that one finds oneself in in ones own life, it is best first to get the inputs of genuine past explorers in the path. They will be able to show a few cycles and then give us some books / resources which can help provide one an intellectual 'proof of concept'. Then, one can go ahead and explore it in ones own life to get a first hand knowledge.

When I teach yogasana, I have started to try and emphasise these cycles, especially the ones that I feel the student may not have been exposed to (provided, it is something that I have at least some basic idea about). It is one thing to intellectually understand it and another to actually experiment with it and gaining at least a certain degree of freedom from some of these cycles. This requires tremendous amount of energy and a certain degree of relentlessness in ones chosen pursuits. I feel, regular practice of asana and pranayama creates a physique and physiology that can provide this. It also provides a calm enough and focussed mind that can do this.

A couple more possible cycles that I have tried to grapple with personally are (exact way of describing these may need more polishing). Start looking at the cycle from 'C'.
C- Cycle causing state
A - Action in the world
R - Result of action
I - Impression (residue) in individual/world

1. Schooling

2. Image of Self

3. Physical Appearance

There are lot more I feel. Consider what happens when we get into arguments that last for a time - we get into a certain position and every further argument only reinforces our position and never brings us out of that. Consider what happens when we get home loans that gets us committed for 20 years. Consider what happens when we get used to a certain 'life style' etc!

Request to those who have gotten to this point in this article :):

If you have grappled with any such cycle in your life, do write to me about your experience. If I have some experience in it too, I can work with you and we can come up with some nice examples which can be shared with students. In addition if you have any resources (books / articles / documentaries etc) that can help in a 'proof of concept', do share them with me! If I do not have any experience in it, I would be most happy to learn the nuances of the same from you!

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