Having reviewed the five kleshas (or causes of suffering), we will turn this week to Sutra II.10 which tells us that we can minimize the subtle afflictions by tracing them back to their root. Recall the second component of Kriya Yoga: svadhyaya or self-study. This is a key practice toward accomplishing this.
Here is what some of the commentators say about Sutra II.10:
Subtle afflictions are to be minimized and eradicated by a process of involution. The subtle afflictions begin with attachment to life, move in the reverse order, contrary to spiritual evolution of 11.3 and end with the gross affliction, ignorance. Subtle afflictions should be overcome before they lead to worse trouble. How does one overcome them? If a seed becomes parched, it cannot germinate; so one must render an affliction sterile by tracing it back to its source. The father of subtle afflictions is the mind, whose movements should be directed towards the seer by the yogic process of involution. (Iyengar)
Kleshas are subtle; they are destroyed when [the mind] dissolves back into its original matrix….. Like burnt seeds, kleshas do not disappear as long as the mind of the yogi is still active; they remain embedded there but in their burnt state, like an empty shell, with the potency to sprout or produce effects (unwanted vrttis or fluctuations of the mind) terminated. Their total dissolution occurs only when the mind of the liberated yogi dissolves back into its original prakrtic source upon the yogi’s death. (Bryant)
Resolving the obstacles to their original cause refers to the experience of Self-realization in which the mind is transcended and ignorance eradicated. Since ignorance gave birth to the obstacles and sustains them; when it is dispelled by the light of the Self, the obstacles can no longer exist. (Carrerra)
In order to resolve all afflictions, it is necessary to find out how they arose. If one wants to find out how the mind can be unconditioned then all that one must do is to see how the mind gets conditioned. This involves going into the What, the How and the Why of the desire for continuity, i.e., what is the factor of continuity that operates in one’s life, how does it operate and why does one seek this continuity. This would mean exploring the areas of one’s attractions and repulsions. It is in these areas that one shall come face to face with what one calls the sense of I-ness, for the I is nothing but the entity that continues and desires to maintain its continuity. (Rohit Mehta)
Recognizing inherent impulses eliminates the causes of suffering at a subtle level. It is a matter of “putting out a fire at its inception with a glass of water. A few minutes later, a ton of water would prove insufficient.” This way uses positive thought and “thinking twice before we act” to attain mental peace, in which the mind is without movement. This is possible only if one is calm enough to sense fear when it first shows itself and recognize an attitude of attachment or opposition before it gives rise to an influx of unending thoughts. (Bouanchaud)
In their subtle form, the causes of suffering are subdued by seeing where they come from….When we observe them closely, we recognize their origin as formless, impermanent, and devoid of self. Once we do, they are no longer persuasive….In coalescence, the distinctions that we would ordinarily apply to aversion — me/it, good/bad, tolerable/intolerable — fall away. Instead the aversion itself is revealed to be more fleeting bodymind energies without definition, dissolving back into the undifferentiated background of consciousness from which they emerged. In this way the quality of suffering that ordinarily accompanies the inevitable pains and accidents of being human is seen through and can be let go. (Hartranft)
The seeds, which are the subtle forms of affliction, lose the potential even to germinate when they are roasted in the fire of discriminative wisdom…This process of resolving the afflictions back into their cause can also be applied to everyday life. Nearly all of the desires we experience on a daily basis are modifications or outgrowths of a few core desires. The outgrowths are like leaves on a tree, while the core desires are like the branches, and the afflictions are the roots and the trunk. The leaves are numerous; the branches are few. Furthermore, cutting off a branch automatically cuts off the leaves, while removing the leaves alone keeps the branch intact. (Baba Hari Dass).