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The Secret Code of the Yoga Sutra

We live in this fast world with demands on us all the time. The Yoga Sutra by Lord Patanjali teaches us how to awaken our connection to our own reverent core.

Luminous Soul Definitions:

Yoga; The Sanskrit root: Yuj – to unite. Yoga means the experience of union, oneness. I often tell students that the practices of yoga teach us all to yield in the interest of harmony. It is exactly that, greater harmony or peace, which the student of yoga seeks contact with. Contact with peace internally leads to the expansion of harmony and fellowship on the outer level.

Sutra; The Sanskrit root: Su – to distill.  Sutras are a distilled, atomic form of powerful yogic teachings.

Sutra as a Metaphor:

In order to comprehend a single sutra one needs to understand nine other sutras to grasp the one in focus. Furthermore, to understand the surrounding nine sutras, the student needs to understand nine more for each of those and so on and so on into infinity*… The Luminous Soul interpretation with accompanying exercises of the Yoga Sutra, shows the student how yogic teachings can unfold directly in our life. Each teaching subtle and rich with layered meaning, offers the yogi-in-training a map to study and then integrate into their life.

Kriya Yoga

A False Perspective Creates the Field of Suffering

Sutra 2.2: Samadhi-Bhavanarthah Klesa-Tanu-Karanartas Ca

The practice of Kriya Yoga has two effects, it elevates the individual’s consciousness and diminishes the individual’s suffering or sorrow, by reducing the kleshas in operation.

Patanjali lists five kleshas and each of them cause suffering. Therefore, it is important to understand what the kleshas are in order to work with them. The first klesha, avidya is ignorance about one’s real nature. In other words, avidya means not knowing who you are and then living from a false perspective about your self. Avidya sets the ground for all the other kleshas to exist.

Who Am I?

In Yoga, the one truth is that You are the light of the Self. And although You have a body and mind, You are not the body and mind alone. Knowing this on an intellectual level is a beginning, but it is hardly enough to fully grasp its depth. To live this teaching, you will have to spend time with it and work to understand it’s meaning and then integrate that understanding into your life.

Avidya: False Knowledge about Who You Are

In sutra 2.4 Avidya Ksetram Uttaresam Prasupta-Tanu-Vicchinodaranam, Patanjali says, avidya is ignorance about one’s highest Self. It is the field upon which all other sufferings are able to exist, whether they are in an alternatingly dormant state, a dormant to active or full-blown. Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati says, “It is through lack of Self awareness that the other causes of misery are able to operate.” What he means is that avidya is a lack of Self awareness about our real nature. Therefore get curious not defensive about the presence of avidya in your life so that you can start to diminish its presence and let the light shine in!

According to Yogic teachings, the first action to begin to diminish your suffering is to wake up to who you really are. But how do you do this? One step you can engage is holding to the Luminous Soul Daily Statement:

The Luminous Soul Daily Statement:

I am energy moving through form.
I am more than just the body that I inhabit.
I am more than the mind with its endless movement of thoughts.
I am beyond the body and mind although I have a body and a mind.

At first it may feel mechanical to repeat a statement but over time and with practice and a spirit of inquiry the Luminous Soul Daily Statement will merge into a practice and a teaching at the same time.

Repeating that you are beyond the body and mind doesn’t mean you don’t handle the difficulties that naturally arise in your manifest life by working to apply healthy solutions, but it does mean that you will work to live from a genuine perspective about who You truly are on all levels: Physically, mentally and spiritually. The more you understand and integrate all aspects of your Self, the more you will experience freedom from the suffering caused by the kleshas.

How do these difficulties play out in your life? Where do you get stuck in the body and the mind? Share your favorite tool to break through this below, and how you plan to engage with the Luminous Soul Daily Statement this week.

*Excerpt from The Cooking Lesson, first published January 31, 2014

© 2016 Sanskrit Studies & Luminous Soul, Manorama