Yoga Sutra of the Month
One of my favorite Sutras, because there is so much to get out of. Because if we only practice by this one rule, the world would be a wonderful, kind and peaceful place.
At least if we all tried to keep it in the forefront of our thoughts throughout our everday life, we would all be much happier.
MAITRI KARUNA MUDITA UPEKSHANAM SUKHA DUKHA PUNYA APUNYA VISANAYAM BHAVANATAS CITTA PRASADANAM
“The projection of friendliness, compassion, gladness and equanimity towards objects (be they) joyful, sorrowful, meritorious or demeritorious (bring about the pacification of consciousness.”
(translation by Georg Feuerstein)
Yoga is all about the “pacification of consciousness” or in other words, the calming of all the agitations of the mind, so that we can become peaceful and able to see clearly into the depths of who we truly are.
Patanjali gives us here a very direct and simple (yet not easy) practice, through which we can achieve this state of peacefulness of mind.
The meaning of “objects” (visaya) in sanskrit is much broader than in our western understanding and includes all thought forms, beings and things that can be encountered with our mind.
In this case, the most obvious “objects” we can encounter carrying those attributes are our fellow human beings.
The people we meet in our lives usually fall into one of those four categories – they can either be joyful and happy, sorrowful and suffering, meritious in doing and achieving good things in life, or demeritorious in behaving unethically.
Usually we encounter a mix of people who, just like ourselves, all have a little of each category within them. It would be easy to fall into the trap of being merely reactive and letting these attitudes spark of our own agitations of our minds.
It’s easy to react to someone’s unethical behaviour with anger or to someone’s success with jealousy.
But if we put the advice given by Patanjali into practice in our daily life, we can become accomplished in being friendly toward the happy and joyful people, compassionate toward those who are suffering, glad for those who are doing good and things and achieve successes in life and cultivate a feeling of equanimity or indifference toward those who are acting unethically.
In Buddhism this practice is known as the Brahma Viharas or the four immeasurables
(Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity) and are beautifully expressed as a prayer or meditation practice:
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
Love means to want others to be happy.
Compassion means to want others to be free of suffering.
True Joy means to be happy for and with someone else’s fortune and happiness.
Equanimity means to have a clear minded and tranquil state of mind.
It is truly a beautiful practice we can all do on a daily basis, in everyday life, in our daily meditation and even during our daily Yoga practice.
If we just bring it into our minds regularly, it will soon become easier and eventually will become the “default” setting in our minds. Just imagine how much happier we will be!