Yoga Sutra Ch 1, Sutra 6 (Parisamvad)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra
Transcribed from Parisamvad at The Yoga Institute.

Chapter 1, Sutra 6


Those harmful and harmless modifications are of five kinds, namely – Right Knowledge, Wrong Knowledge, Imagination, Sleep and Recollection .

Pramana: right knowledge
Viparyaya: wrong knowledge
Vikalpa: imagination, delusion
Nidra: deep sleep
Smrtayah: memory, remembering
The objective is controlling the Citta (the mind), completely. So there is a discussion about how this mind functions. We have all these various aspects. The mind sometimes thinks correctly – Pramana. Sometimes it is thinking in a wrong way – Viparyaya. Sometimes it imagines – Vikalpa. Sometimes it is in sleep – Nidra. Sometimes it is in memory – Smriti. This is the usual way in which the mind works.
The important thing is, thousands of years back the Yogis could divide the mind and its functioning which today we are not able to do. Today we just have perception, emotion. We are not able to go into these finer areas. The Yogis had to go into this because they wanted to control the mind. Sometimes we may call it perception but it might be faulty. We take it that whenever I perceive, it’s the truth, reality. Just as when I go to a court and say whatever I will speak will be true. Our perceptions are not always very correct.
The same is about the other things. Sleep is a dull state – Tamasic. We can’t depend on the perception or experience of sleep. The traditionalists have divided the functioning of the Citta into five categories and these are not necessarily the best. This is the point that comes in because in yoga you want to control these things because these things are not the best. If perception could be 100% correct, there is no fear. But sometimes it is correct, sometimes it is not. Yoga is concerned with gaining correct knowledge. So ultimately it comes to the conclusion that none of these are correct and they also have to be controlled.
When yoga talks of controlling the mind, it means controlling these things also, though we may call it as perception, right knowledge – it is not. Today we may consider it as correct; tomorrow it might be proved wrong. So yoga has gone into this kind of details, at a very minute level. But the purpose is that this mind is undependable and we should not rely on it. We have to finally experience the Yogic kind of a mind that is considered as totally correct. It is intuitive; something that comes right from the heart and that is always true. This capacity has to be developed, because we don’t have that capacity. When we are in good mood we see something different, when in a bad mood we see something totally different. So these are very fine observations and they are necessary in yoga.
In yoga we want to go beyond this. The ultimate purpose of yoga is complete stoppage of Citta. The Citta, i.e. our mind as it is functioning, is not very dependable. So let us go beyond it. Something like intuition, something like trance, meditation – that is dependable. The Yogis wanted to get at the fact and not depend upon mere hearsay or arguments. That, they know is not correct. Only when the mind is stopped that intuitively, the right understanding comes. But we cannot stop the mind so the understanding is always poor. Only in some very unusual conditions the mind does stop and then we come to a conclusion and that conclusion is right. But that is unusual. When we get mixed up then we get lost. When we are observing a thing, already our mind as affected. If we are in a good mood, the perception will be correct. So we are not sure. These moods keep changing and that is what is affecting our life. We want to come to a stage where we are absolutely sure, not just fluctuating. That inner conviction is yoga. The usual thinking is all uncertain, doubtful.
Today’s sutra explains how human mind works, what type of thoughts come in the mind and what type of thoughts the mind should have. Then a stage should come when this human mind should stop. There are five kinds of thoughts (Vritis) that we have. Vrittis are the Citta’s activities. One is scientific mind – Pramana – there is proof and you believe. That could be negative or positive. Science is still struggling to say whether God is there or not there. You can use science to have positive way of living. You can use science to create more Klesas and negativity. Every type has its plus and minuses, Klista and Aklista tendencies. By believing in God if you feel that your ego is reducing, your attachment is reducing, hatred is reducing, then you believe it.
Viparyaya is unscientific mind – Since there are number of accidents at a particular spot so people believe that there must be some demon, witch; so people don’t go there. People don’t say we will drive properly. They get afraid. You have sneezed so don’t go out. You see something hanging and you take it as a snake. This is another kind of mind. Third is Vikalpa – imagination. We imagine a lot. A person can imagine good or bad, both – nobody knows the reality. Science has created a lot of good things through imagination. Why did the apple fall down? Why it didn’t go up. In science one begins with imagination and then comes to a conclusion. Lawyers use imagination in their cases – was the gun fired from this angle or that angle? A lady finds out that she is having baby girl in her stomach – she imagines that she will have to spend so much in her studies; so much dowry will have to be given and ultimately kills the child. So the imagination can be dirty. So, first from negative we become positive and from positive one stops thinking – this is the formula.

Fourth is Nidra– sleep. In sleep also mind is functioning. During the day someone insulted you, you kept quiet, but in the night in your sleep you will use good amount of abuses to him, because you want to hurt him. Dreams could be positive or negative. Good, beautiful dreams can elevate the mood. The best sleep is the one without dreams. Then comes Smriti– memory of experience. Whatever you experience goes into the memory. That memory creates problems. Someone has cheated you in the past. He has apologized also. But that memory is still there. Whenever that person comes in front of you, your BP shoots up, anger comes again. We suffer from the same incident again and again. There is a fracture in the leg. The fracture heals. The cells in that area which have suffered register the pain, though the pain has now gone away. The day you over-strain the pain starts in that area. The orthopedics say just ignore that pain. Just lovingly caress that area, but don’t worry that something is wrong. Every cell in our body has intelligence, not just in the brain.

About Parisamvad
On every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz holds Parisamvad sessions – Free interactive sessions that are open to all. These session begin at 7:20 am and end around 7:45 am.
The Friday Parisamvad is dedicated to explanation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by our esteemed Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji.
All are welcome to attend.

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