kleśaDevanāgarī: क्लेश Translation: afflictions; distress; anguish Similar words:kliṣṭa Related concepts:avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa, abhiniveśa, prasupta, tanū, vicchinna, udāra, kriyā, viveka, vipāka, akliṣṭa, karman
Appears inYoga Sūtra: Bhagavad Gītā:
Chapter 6: 6Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā:
Chapter 3: 14
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“What are the effects of Kriyā Yoga?
Samādhi Bhāvana –
The ability to pursue the right practice that brings one closer to Īśvara.
Kleśa Tanū Karaṇa –
Reduction of those obstacles that we have somehow acquired through wrong actions,
leading to undesirable and bitter experiences.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2
“Kriyā Yoga emphasises that the Kleśa cannot be reduced instantly.
It is a gradual process.
Further Kleśa can only be reduced to the limit they become ineffective.
They cannot be destroyed.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2
“These five Kleśa surround the heart of every individual.
They are related to the three Guṇa known as Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
As long as one chooses not to inquire into the true nature of one’s self and acts mechanically,
they will unknowingly contribute to the dominance of the Kleśa.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3
“All these Kleśa are variable in their potency.
They can be so weak, that they hardly matter.
Sometime they take a feeble form, when they can be easily contained.
If not they rise to dominance.
When in domination, only one takes over.
For example in the most evolved stage when Rāga is dominant,
other Kleśa such as Dveṣa are not apparent.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 4
“Kleśa are not always dominant.
Through Kriyā Yoga they become weaker and weaker.
How is it possible to completely subdue them?
No mental effort can help as Mind is the storehouse of the Kleśa.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 10
“When Kleśa are on the move, time should not be lost.
Reflection is a must.
Reduction of all the factors that increase Rajas and Tamas, including right food, company, study and Niyama is a must.
Without them, reflection leading to a reduction of the power of Kleśa will not work.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 11
“What effects Kleśa have on us?
They affect our actions and the results are evident sooner or later.
Further they decide, in spite of us, what we do and don’t.
Our actions will be beyond our control, so are the consequences.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 12
“Knowledge from the past prevails and influences me to either judge or inquire.
Assuming my knowledge and my memory and I proceed is Asmitā Kleśa.
Assuming that I may be wrong and wishing to find out more is Asmitā Jñāna.
However to hesitate completely or question everything is Asmitā Kleśa.
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6
“If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
Negation is a tendency to resist or reject after something bad has happened. It could be a fact, an idea or whatever, but if we were not comfortable with it, we resist. There is a strong relationship between attachment and negation, like heads and tails of a coin. Strangely, the more we are attached to something the more there is a likelihood to reject it later – when what we were expecting is not forthcoming heads becomes tails!
Fear is a very fundamental emotion which seems to have some special energy that can make it survive on its own. Fear exists independently of objects, they just give it something to fix on, like the wolf in Western fairy tales. There are two types of fear : fear of something, an earthquake, an illness, a wolf etc., and fear of losing something, a job, a loved one, prestige etc.
Fear, negation, attachment and association either alone or together create the conditions for suffering to erupt again and again. Suffering appears, disappears and re-appears forcing us to admit that something is missing and this pushes us to seek how to find it.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’
“We can read the book, but the book can’t read us.
Plus we tend to read a book through our Kleśa.”
There is always Rāga, it just depends where we are in ourselves in terms of a spectrum of being.
Thus Rāga can express itself within the spectrum of being as either a state of Jñāna Rāga
or a state of Kleśa Rāga or, as happens mostly, somewhere twixt the extremes of the two.
Either way according to TKV Desikachar’s teaching, progress is not possible without the drive of the emotional forces, they are the horses that pull the chariot.
As to which of the two paths (Jñāna Rāga or Kleśa Rāga) we find ourselves veering towards depends on our skill as a charioteer, coupled with our understanding of the nature of the forces/horses,
as well as the essential nature of the ‘food’ we ‘choose’ to feed them on.
Hence Desikachar’s quote:
“Each person has two forces Rāga and Dveṣa.
They are there to serve you, not you them.”
– TKV Desikachar on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Three verse 34
“Pratyāhāra is not feeding the tendency of the Citta to automatically form a positive, negative, or neutral identification with whatever stimuli the senses present to it. From that we can begin to understand how their external gathering activities stimulate our conscious and especially, unconscious choices.
From this we can begin to understand how the impact of this sensory process can lead us to travel in different directions and trigger different levels of response, often without us being really conscious of how deeply their input stimulates our psychic activities.
From these responses there will be the inevitable re-actions, again quite possibly unconscious and multilevelled, according to our psychic history in terms of our memory, habit patternings and deeper memory processes.
From those initial insights we can begin to understand and interact in how we can resist unconsciously slipping into the trance states that can so often culminate with the Kleśa manifesting fully in the entrancing dance of Udārā Rāga, or Udārā Dveṣa, or Udārā Abhiniveśa, the profligate children of Avidyā.”
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54
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