Kleshas in Yoga Meditation

QUICK EXPLANATION ON KLESHAS

kleshas = there are 5 kleshas, these are layers or colorings that veil Pure Consciousness. The whole process of yoga is to uncolor the kleshas, to set them aside (nirodhah), so that the Seer can rest in its true nature. Another way to say this is that we have to go from klistha (colored) to aklistha (uncolored), we have to go beyond all the 5 kleshas to experience the Non-dual Reality.
 
5 kleshas: avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, abhinivesha
 


 

 
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ON THIS PAGE:
KLESHAS: PRACTICAL
YOGA SUTRAS ON KLESHAS
SWAMI RAMA ON KLESHAS
SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON KLESHAS


 

KLESHAS: PRACTICAL

Observing the kleshas
We want to understand the meaning of the kleshas, but not merely by knowing its definition; we want to be able to observe them in our daily life. Thus choose for a day or a week to be aware one of the kleshas, as you go through activities, situations, and conversations. Observe how this klesha is related to actions, thoughts, and speech. You want to discover for yourself by doing experiment how the 5 kleshas relate to you, so that you have direct knowledge of the concept of kleshas.
 
Four stages of the kleshas:
In yogasutra 2.4 four stage of the kleshas are mentioned; udaram (active), vicchinna (separated), tanu (attenuated), and parsupta (dormant). Being mindful that a klesha can appear in these four stages will help you in satya (truthfulness) so that you determine the degree of coloring and how you relate to the active desire. You might think a desire is pretty attenuated, but actually you only created a distance or avoided the desire so that it only appeared as attenuated. But this temporary distance may help you to get you to attenuated state from which it can fall back into seed form, so that the seed can be burned in meditation. Also observing your own desires and recognizing these stages will give you many insights in how your mind works; seeds become active and recede back into seed form. Witnessing the stream of thoughts as they bubble up and not necessary having to act them out is the first freedom you get (look at avidya page to find the three freedoms). Therefore add these four stages to your self-awareness practices so that you can relate to them by being able to connect them with personal experiences.
 
Udaram:
It starts by first mentioning udaram; a state in which a klesha is active. For example you are in the midst of a conversation and someone pushes a button, you get upset or very happy (we also have happy buttons!). Because of the intense coloring the active button wants to express itself and it does; this is an example of a klesha being active in the state of udaram. A klesha doesn’t have to be this strong in color to be udaram, also when less colored samskaras become active they also are in a state of udaram, but in both cases the active desire is in the foreground of our mind, are being played out by using the karmendriyas (speaking, grasping, moving, procreating, or eliminating).
 
Vicchinna:
If a desire becomes active but it is not possible to fulfill this desire because it is not within your reach, or you made sure that you are separated from it; it is in the stage of vicchinna. The desire is still active but doesn’t appear to be so active or dominant as when you would be able to fulfill this desire right away. An example would be that you would like a specific coffee but your are at work, cannot go at this moment to that coffee place, so the desire is active, but you are separated from the desired object so it is not going to be fulfilled yet. It could become so active that you walk out on your lunch break to get the coffee; then it went from vicchinna to udaram as the desire is now put into action. It can be beneficial to create an intentional separation with a desire, but this doesn’t mean it is immediately less colored. Because as soon as the desire is in front of you it wants to be fulfilled. An example would be some specific food (lets talk about chocolate) you may intentionally not buy it, but this doesn’t mean your are non-attached to chocolate because as soon as it is in front of you you eat it all (or some). Real non-attachment is if it doesn’t matter if it is there or not there, you are neutral to it.
 
Tanu:
When a desire is being attenuated it will still come forward, as it is not yet completely uncolored, but the degree to which is has to be fulfilled will be diminished. Therefore when it bubbles up into the conscious mind-field there is more freedom. Freedom choose what to do with it and if you do not want to fulfill it doesn’t agitate the mind-field; it doesn’t nag so much. Over time you will be able to handle more active desires in the conscious mind-field as you get better in being unaffected by them, they do not disturbed you so much anymore. This is possible because you learn to bring the samskaras forward during meditation; you learn to stay undisturbed, unaffected, and uninvolved so that the samskaras will fall back into the mind-field less colored. Allowing this process to happen (samskaras coming and going) will “washed” off the coloring, and then when one of those samskara gets active during the day it is probably in a more attenuated state (tanu) then active (udaram).
 
Parsupta:
The last stage is when a samskara is in dormant form, not active, just waiting in chitta as a seed sleeping. Because of its coloring it will one day wake up and become active, so we are not yet fully released from it. It may not get active in years (or even this life) but it will one day (this life or another). Example: in the summer you might enjoy swimming but this desire is asleep during winter. You may enjoy eating tomato soup, but this desire is asleep in the morning, only wakes up around lunch time or dinner time. When you are in deep sleep all desires are temporary in parsupta, until one of them will become active and wake up all the instrument and many other desires: “It a new day! Wake up and let’s play.” Therefore to really get rid of the samskaras we have to burn the seeds, this happens in meditation (yogasutras 2.11)
 
Look at the pages of each klesha for more practical instructions: avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, and abhinivesha.

 

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DAILY OBSERVATION AND YOGIC SELF-AWARENESS ASSESSMENT

Eventually the kleshas will swim around in your awareness all the time, as they become a part of constant self-awareness. Also, becoming aware of the kleshas will have the effect that you will increase your use of these words in your daily vocabulary to express yourself and you will discover how the kleshas relate to other concepts, processes, or insights. For example, you may come to see a relation between ahamkara and the kleshas, or between maya and the kleshas. Eventually you will discover how all these concepts dance together and coming to know this dance will guide you towards that which is beyond all the concepts. This is because as you increase your self-awareness, you will discover that everything you can observe is not who you truly are, you are not the kleshas, you are the One that is able to witness all these concepts. Therefore all the kleshas has to be transcended, who you really are is beyond the kleshas. This will increase the non-attachment towards the kleshas, while you can be in awe of the beauty of the Divine dance of Consciousness that appears to play as an individual, therefore only appears to have fear. Therefore practicing self-awareness is actually practicing not-self-awareness by which the True Self will eventually reveal itself.
 
Look at the self-assessment PDF (assessment-yymmdd.pdf) and a PDF that includes daily internal dialogue and daily observation (sumseven-yymmdd.pdf) on the website of www.abhyasaashram.org (when you are on this page scroll all the way down to find the downloadable PDFs) These PDFs can be used as tools to explore and expand your understanding on the kleshas.

 

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YOGASUTRAS ON KLESHAS

1.5 Those gross and subtle thought patterns (vrittis) fall into five varieties, of which some are colored (klishta) and others are uncolored (aklishta).
vrittayah pancatayah klishta aklishta
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1.24 That creative source (ishvara) is a particular consciousness (purusha) that is unaffected by colorings (kleshas), actions (karmas), or results of those actions that happen when latent impressions stir and cause those actions.
klesha karma vipaka ashayaih aparamristah purusha-vishesha ishvara
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2.2 That Yoga of action (kriya yoga) is practiced to bring about samadhi and to minimize the colored thought patterns (kleshas).
samadhi bhavana arthah klesha tanu karanarthah cha
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2.3 There are five kinds of coloring (kleshas): 1) forgetting, or ignorance about the true nature of things (avidya), 2) I-ness, individuality, or egoism (asmita), 3) attachment or addiction to mental impressions or objects (raga), 4) aversion to thought patterns or objects (dvesha), and 5) love of these as being life itself, as well as fear of their loss as being death (abhinivesha).
avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha
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2.4 The root forgetting or ignorance of the nature of things (avidya) is the breeding ground for the other of the five colorings (kleshas), and each of these is in one of four states: 1) dormant or inactive, 2) attenuated or weakened, 3) interrupted or separated from temporarily, or 4) active and producing thoughts or actions to varying degrees.
avidya kshetram uttaresham prasupta tanu vicchinna udaranam
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2.9 Even for those people who are learned, there is an ever-flowing, firmly established love for continuation and a fear of cessation, or death, of these various colored modifications (kleshas).
sva-rasa-vahi vidushah api tatha rudhah abhiniveshah
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2.10 When the five types of colorings (kleshas) are in their subtle, merely potential form, they are then destroyed by their disappearance or cessation into and of the field of mind itself.
te pratipasava heyah sukshmah
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2.12 Latent impressions that are colored (karmashaya) result from other actions (karmas) that were brought about by colorings (kleshas), and become active and experienced in a current life or a future life.
klesha-mula karma-ashaya drishta adrishta janma vedaniyah
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2.13 As long as those colorings (kleshas) remains at the root, three consequences are produced: 1) birth, 2) span of life, and 3) experiences in that life.
sati mule tat vipakah jati ayus bhogah
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4.30 After that dharma-meghah samadhi, the colorings of the kleshas and the karmas are removed.
tatah klesha karma nivrittih
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SWAMI RAMA ON KLESHAS

“The yoga manuals talk about two types of thoughts, klista and aklista. The first is helpful and the latter is harmful and injurious. Helpful thoughts are those that inspire you or encourage your effort. Injurious thoughts involve thinking, for example, that you are good-for-nothing or inferior. These are negative thoughts. You need to inspect your thoughts to determine which help you and which should be eliminated.”
~ Path of Fire and Light pg. 100

 

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SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON KLESHAS

Read the whole article “Witnessing” on www.swamij.com
Allow streams of individual thoughts to flow: One of the best ways to get a good understanding of witnessing the kleshas (colorings) is to sit quietly and intentionally allow streams of individual thoughts to arise. This doesn’t mean thinking or worrying. It literally is an experiment in which you intentionally let an image come. It is easiest to do with what seem to be insignificant impressions.
For example, imagine a fruit, and notice what comes to mind. An apple may come to mind, and you simply note “Attraction” if you like it, or are drawn to it. It may not be a strong coloring, but maybe you notice there is some coloring. You may think of a pear, and note that there is an ever so slight “aversion” because you do not like pears.
 
Read the whole article “Yoga” on www.swamij.com
Uncoloring Colored Thoughts through Yoga: thought patterns in the mind field can be colored with fear, aversion, attachment, egoism, or ignorance of our true nature (the five kleshas described by Yoga; Yoga Sutra 1.5, 2.3). These colored thoughts (vrittis) are the obstacles blocking the light, peace, and joy of the core of our spiritual being. Reducing the coloring is the key to non-attachment (vairagya) and freedom.

 

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Yoga Meditation, Contemplation, and Devotion for Self-realization

This site is an offering to those who deeply long to experience Pure Consciousness that is known as Divine Mother or Tripura (‘Tri’ means three, and ‘pura’ means city); She is the one that lives in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Temporary leaving behind the three cities and residing only in Pure Consciousness is called Self-realization. Another name for this realization is Yoga; the union of the individual self with the universal Self; the union of Atman with Brahman, or Shiva with Shakti; or the dis-union of Purusha and Prakriti. Some might think of Tripura as an anthropomorphic being but She is not, She is the Non-dual Reality in which all appearing manifestation seems to exist. All that is, is the Non-dual Reality.
 
On this site the teachings of Yoga, Vedanta, and Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra are offered to guide you in learning to meditate directly on Tripura by using modern ways of communication such as through animations, while preserving the ancient wisdom. These teaching have been given to us by an ancient lineage of meditation masters, lovingly called the Tradition of the Himalayan masters. These practices lead us to a space of stillness and silence where Yoga meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer converge into deep devotion and constant awareness of Tripura. At the end of the journey when all efforts are exhausted, grace will dawn. This is known as shaktipata, through which the final barrier is removed, which is the piercing of the bindu, and leads to the direct experience of Non-dual Reality. This finally reveals an unimaginable Joy from knowing the Non-dual Reality or Pure Consciousness!

 

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