I do feel that verses ten and eleven in Chapter Two of the Yoga Sūtra……

I do feel that verses ten and eleven in Chapter Two of the Yoga Sūtra offer a directional shift as an inspiration for undertaking the transitional commitment from Kriyā Yoga towards Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.

“These (Kleśa) are subtle and are
overcome by going back to their origin.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 10

“This fluctuation
(the rise and fall in their perpetual potency to ‘take over’)
is overcome by meditation.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 11

For me, these two verses are an essential reflection in the transition from the integration of Bāhya Sādhana, towards the cultivation of Antar Sādhana. Furthermore, when considering this deepening of our Sādhana from Bāhya towards Antar, these verses also re-mind me of the simple yet heartfelt teaching inherent in Chapter One.

“Moreover, this stage becomes firm
when attended to without interruption,
with reverence and enthusiasm over a long time.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

However, amidst this process is staying aware of the irony of saying where you are being a blunder to show where you are not, or even not saying of where you are, as you ‘know’ this non-wordplay. This also applies to ourselves, or even others, undervaluing as well as overvaluing, our progress from a perceived starting point.

All of these apparent perceptions sit within a gravitational shift in terms of occasional glimpses of Antar Sādhana pulling me from the inside, rather than pushing from the outside, as with Bāhya Sādhana.

Thankfully though, Patañjali reminds us, in Chapter Two, of the subtleties inherent in the illusion of
 recognising the psyche as if it is pure awareness.

”Avidyā is the illusion of recognising:
the ephemeral as the eternal,
the profane as the profound,
pain as pleasure and
the silhouette as the source.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5

Furthermore, to help us stay grounded in the mental phenomena that accompanies most of ones Dhyāna, Patañjali reminds us, even late in Chapter Four, that the seeds of the past remain ever open to sprouting in the field of the Kleśa.

“In the breaks between that (Dhyāna),
other psychic activities,
due to tendencies.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 27

So, in the next verse he suggests, because nothing is destroyed and the past lurks in the seeds of memory, go back to base when re-viewing our Sādhana, especially when experiencing ourselves caught within unskillful situations:

“It is said the giving up of these
is as for the afflictions.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 28

Thus, we are guided right back to Chapter Two and the importance of Kriyā Yoga within our Sādhana.

“Activities that nurture a state of Yoga involve
self-Discipline, self–Inquiry and Self–Awareness.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

“Its purpose is cultivating integration,
effecting an attenuation of the afflictions.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

So, as we roll the dice of Karma in our journey along the squares of Saṃsāra, ahead of each experience within the ‘ladder’ of awareness, there lurks the longer ‘snake’ of illusion. Here I am re-minded of Krishnamacharya’s insightful teachings around Kuṇḍalinī as a synonym for Avidyā.

In conclusion, wherever we might feel we are, it is better to keep hold of Kriyā Yoga as a foundational Sādhana and constant mental mirror for where we actually are, or are not. Rather than assuming that we are as if ‘off’ the square of Kriyā Yoga in the Snakes and Ladders Karma gambit inherent within our efforts at transitioning our Sādhana from Kriyā to Aṣṭāṅga.

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