Yoga science is first and foremost a psychological subject. Yoga deals
with controlling the mind and therefore considers all the diseases of
the mind and the ways in which these can be cured. It examines all the
"impediments" of body and mind which hinder or stop a person from taking
up and progressing yoga practice. It sets out how these impediments can
be overcome. It also looks at the functioning of the mind: how it reacts
to experience and how these reactions in turn influence the mind. These
are the six constituents of psychology.
Firstly, we need to know what the mind is?
All that exists is God. He has a Soul and a body. His
body is the universe, made up of Souls and matter.
Souls include all the Gods and Goddesses which
mankind worships, and also your own Soul. The Soul has the power of
seeing. The self within experiences, but does not see, being of the form
of matter not Soul.
Matter in respect of living beings includes the self
and the inner organ (antahkarana) (brain functioning) which has chitta
(consciousness), buddhi (intellect), ahamkara (ego) and manas (mind).
Chitta is individual and cosmic consciousness.
Individual consciousness, whereby the Self (atman) knows that it exists
because it is aware of itself, and cosmic consciousness, of objects held
in the mind. Chitta has five states: experienced knowledge,
misconception, imagination, deep or dreamless sleep and memory (pramana,
viparyaya, vikalpa, nidra, smrtayah).
Buddhi, the intelligence of the Self, has the power
of knowledge and has will power. It discriminates between right and
wrong, and decides what to do.
Manas, the sense-mind, perceives objects and reacts.
Mind is a servant, not a master of the self. If the self through its
buddhi determines that it would like a woman to think of a man, then
this is what the woman's mind will do. The contents of the mind are
thoughts, feelings, peace and bliss. In this age everyone is stressed.
What the mind most needs in the short run is relaxation (even more than
happiness). In the absence of this it gets stuck in a rut, the next best
thing. The mind also has inclinations, which are determined largely by
the history of its experiences in this life.
Matter, being made up of the three gunas of satwa,
rajas and tamas, is always in motion. Hence, so long as the mind is not
under control, chitta experiences fluctuations.
Diseases of the Mind. Klesa
There are five afflictions: worldly or erroneous
knowledge (avidya), sense of 'I' ness (asmita), desire and attachment
(raga), dislike (dvesa) and attachment to life and fear of death (abhinivesah).
Pain and sorrow (duhkha) result from the affliction (klesha) of dislike
Causes of the Afflictions or Diseases of the Mind
Afflictions are the end result (vipaka) of bad
actions (bad karma). Karma gives rise to subtle tendencies and desires
(known as asaya). The interaction of these tendencies (samskara) and
desires with your life experiences gives rise to afflictions, if actions
are not in accord with yama.
If asayah exists one is reborn with a specific type of birth (jati),
span of life (ayuh) and set of prospective experiences of sensual joys (bhogah).
We all have free choice, to do good or bad actions,
The balance of good and bad choices of actions that you have made in
this and in your previous life is also called karma. Good or bad is
defined in terms of whether they are consistent or not with the five
ethical principles of Yama. Your karma determines whether your life
experiences will be pleasurable or not, according to the law of karma.
Karma is only overruled by God's mercy.
Impediments to Yoga Practice, Antarayah
Yoga practice is that which helps to still the fluctuations of the
The impediments to yoga practice, that is which create fluctuations of
the chitta or consciousness are: disease (vyadhi), sluggishness (styana),
doubt (samsaya), carelessness (pramada), idleness (alasya), sense
gratification (avirati), living in illusion (bhrantidarsana), lack of
perseverance (alabdhabhumikatva) and inability to maintain one's
achieved progress (anavasthitatvani).
Overcoming the Impediments to Yoga Practice and the Diseases of the
The first chapter of the Yoga Sutra sets out the mental disciplines
required to overcome the various impediments to having a yogic mind.
The second chapter sets out the physical disciplines required to cure
the diseases of the mind, consisting of the Yoga of Action, Karma Yoga,
namely Tapas, Svadhyaya and Ishvara Pranidhana.