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As human beings who walk the earth we all suffer. In fact, in the Yoga Sutras it is said that a wise man realizes that; “dukham eva sarvam vivekinaha” everything is suffering. So why do we suffer? What keeps us in the bondage of suffering? One answer to that will be our “Kleshas“, inborn psychological afflictions that are the root of Karma and keeps us looped in the cycle of samsara.
But all is not lost, as Maharishi Patanjali gives us “heyam dukham anagatam” prevent suffering that is yet to occur. But before we can prevent it, we have to first be aware that we are suffering, the reasons we suffer and no, it’s not because of another person or an external situation!
And this is where the kleshas come in. The field of the rising of these afflictive states is one of avidya, considered the root Kesha and generally defined as “ignorance or not knowing”. So is avidya simply “not knowing”? It is here, in the Sutra 2.5 that Maharishi Patanjali gives us one of the most incisive definitions of avidya. He brings clarity to the term by defining the different components of avidya so we understand that it is not as simple as not knowing something, but worse, it is “knowing it mistakenly”. So by delving into this very important sutra we become aware of the components of avidya which enables us to see it clearly reflected in our day to day life. And this capacity to “see” is vital, as it then helps us shift our perspective and assign the correct value to events and relationships around us. All of which helps to reduce dukha suffering.
Maharishi Patanjali also gives us “hanam“, the means to alleviate suffering, through the tool kit of Kriya Yoga; tapas, svadhyaya and ishvara pranidhana. These methods work on tanu attenuating the kleshas to attain states of absorption. So through this talk we open our minds to the different afflictions, gain the knowledge of the virtues of effort, self-study and surrender in cultivating the mind to receive higher states of consciousness.