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Deva Parnell PortraitThe Aim of Yoga Practice
from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
translation by Deva Parnell

2.1 The practice of Yoga must reduce both physical and mental impurities. It must develop our capacity for self-examination and spiritual attunement.

2.2 Then such practices can remove obstacles to clear perception and decrease suffering.


THE KLESHAS

The Obstacles to Clear Perception
(Causes of Suffering)

2.3 The obstacles are false perception (avidya), ego (asmita), attachment (raga), aversion (dvesha) and fear (abhinivesha).

2.4 False perception (avidya) is the source of all the other obstacles, which may be obscure and barely visible or exposed and dominant.


Avidya
False perception, misapprehension,
incorrect comprehension

2.5 False perception leads to errors in comprehension of the character, origin, and effects of the objects and situations perceived. The impermanent seems permanent, the unclear seems clear, the painful seems pleasurable and the non-self seems to be the true Self.


Asmita

Ego, false identity, confused values,
need to be best or right

2.6 False identity results when we regard the instruments of perception (body and mind) as
the perceiver.

Raga
Attachment, attraction, desire

2.7 Attachment is associated with pleasure and the promise of future happiness.

Dvesha
Aversion, dislike, hatred, repulsion

2.8 Aversion is associated with painful experiences from the past.

Abhinivesha
Fear, uncertainty, doubt, insecurity,
fear of death, clinging to life

2.9 Fear is the inborn feeling of anxiety for what is to come (ultimately the death of the physical body.) It affects both the ignorant and the wise.

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