Let us now return to Pathanjali and his system.
More and more people are becoming interested in Yoga as time passes. But most of them think of Hatha Yoga when they talk about Yoga. It has its benefits but is not the whole of Yoga.
Then what is Yoga?
Some of you are aware that the word yoga means to join or to yoke. But what does it aim at bringing together? Certain people say it unites the universal soul ( Brahma) with the individual soul( Jiva). But I think it aims at solving the mystery of duality and eliminating fear.
The ancient texts say:
Dwitiyaat toh bhayam Bhavati
The presence of duality causes fear
This is so true a statement if you give it some thought. Every one is afraid to their very core. It is no use saying that we are not. The totally dumb might think so. But the moment some thing goes wrong in their lives they are the loudest to scream and go into tantrums. I have seen people breaking under real stress. I have seen groups of people reduced to a shaking mass of fright. I am living with some of them. They stick together because they are afraid to stand alone.
They think together, they plan together and they call each other up and try to enlist the help of everyone because they are turned into ninnies with uncontrollable cowardice. You might think that this is an example of solidarity, their togetherness. But it is not out of love that they stand together, it’s out of sheer fear. Every single moment of their lives this fear gnaws at their heart and leaves them shaking.
You see, standing close to the cowards are not going to grant you any freedom. Yoga doesn’t aim at establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in the world; it aims at establishing the dictatorship of your consciousness over everything else. If you want to make it happen you need to eliminate fear. Because you can’t conquer that which you fear. But one can’t eliminate something without understanding it and knowing what it is.
So what is this fear, where does it originate?
From the outside, from the ‘other’, from that which is considered by you as alien.
Think of something that you fear most in your life, be it a man or woman or a thing or event. Don’t pretend that you don’t fear anything. It might wash among your friends but not before your mind. Why do you fear this man, woman or thing or event? Because you perceive them as different from you. You believe that you would not understand their actions and their motives and their tendencies. They are alien; they are not a part of you.
Do you fear your limbs, your eyes or your nose? You do not! Why? Because you know they are part of yourself and you don’t have anything to fear from them. You see, it is the other that frightens you. The moment you see duality (or something other than yourselves) the fear originates.
But what about mind? Don’t we fear our mind? Should we fear it as it is ours? Is it not the most fearful thing in the world, our minds?
It truly is. None is capable of facing it alone as those who have tried to do so would tell you.
But why is it so? This thing is yours, it has to protect you, and then why does it not?
Because it is not your own.
It is the alien that you have within you.
It is the true originator of all differences in the world. The mind can only operate within the sphere of duality. It revels in it. The duality is its very own element. Hence it encompasses the whole of the dual universe. Your physical body is defined, delineated and secure, but the mind extrudes into the rest of the universe creating innumerable divisions and the illusion of separateness. It has no boundaries. It makes you perceive the other.
So the fear is caused by your mind and its preferences. It can only exist in fear.
Once you have grasped it the course of action to get rid of your fears becomes clear. You need to control this thing that you call your own but have never been.
All the practices of yoga are about controlling the mind.
We will examine the Yoga Sutras one by one as we go along.