17 May Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.32 (Parisamvad)
Chapter 1, Sutra 32
Tatpratisedhartham Ekatattva Abhyasah
Tat : those, their
Pratisedha: prevention, removal
Artham : for the purpose of
Eka : single
Tattva : truth, principle
Abhyasah : practice, cultivating that habit
For their prevention let there be perseverance after one truth.
Listen to the audio:
“We are talking of concentrating the mind, because then understanding can occur. So this object has to be one single object not keep on changing, and the attention has to be continuous. See, these are the conditions and if one can manage that, then some understanding can occur, otherwise a mind that is wavering never gathers any knowledge. We all fall in that category. We have so many ideas so many plans and what not. So this is a suggestions after discussing the various difficulties that we face. They have been discussed earlier; a mind being wavering, changeful, in pain and all that. So let us work out on something which is continuously there, we are able to attend to it for a long duration and some amount of quietness can occur which will help in gaining deeper understanding that’s the idea. You see, the distractions that occur, are also meaningful. You feel sense in coming to know a little more about the object on which you want to concentrate. But it doesn’t stay steady. One object makes you to go to another object and the whole series goes on. Ultimately it’s a conspiracy never to allow you to keep your mind one-pointed. So we have to understand this. And be clever to understand what is it that we are concentrating on and immediately shift as soon as the distraction comes. But all this needs a lot of vigilance and we are not having that vigilance. You see, we take things in a very leisurely way. So we want to indulge in thinking, a lot of certain hidden thoughts to come up and feel busy. That individual who is determined, clear, he doesn’t allow any other thoughts.
We all know the story of Arjuna, when he is with the other Pandavas trying to aim at that little bird sitting on a tall tree. And the teacher asks each one, and they are talking about the tree, the leaves and many many other things. It is only Arjuna who says ‘I think only of the eye of the bird and nothing else.’ And the teacher tells the others that that is where the concentration helps. If you allow the mind to wonder, you wont hit that target. So we are also easily distracted. Things are interesting or things are useful or a hundred reasons. but not the object itself. So our concentration is very very poor. In the beginning we make a big show, but immediately some aspect of the object distracts us and we relent to our senses. So this is a sutra which puts the finger on the central issue and we forget everything else except the given. But do you feel that our mind is so wavering with a variety of desires, ambitions, that we can’t stick onto one thing. See, we can give reasons after reasons. See, in case of Arjuna, he had been trained like that, that if he’s aiming at something, only that thing and nothing else. This training should be available with those who go for the pistol shooting in the ranges. They have many other things around and the attention goes there. The one who has no other thoughts except of that particular object and shooting, he succeeds.
This is our weakness and we don’t mind. We enjoy the scenery, enjoy the people running around, enjoy the manner in which the shooting is going on and so many things. The object, we are hardly able to hold on. Even if we hold on, other distractions can immediately come. Somebody shouts loudly and we are interested in what he shouted and like that. So this is a very crucial sutra. Concentrate on the very object that you want to hit. And this is happening in our life also, the same problem. We are drawn away by many unnecessary things and we never succeed. ”
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