This on-going discussion examines our experiences in asana and life through the lens of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Through reading, experimentation and the sharing of our experiences, we work to deepen our awareness and appreciation of life and increase the effectiveness of our actions. If you are new to this discussion, please begin by reading our Introduction to Yoga Philosophy.

afflictions – the five klesas

Preparation for Philosophy Class Discussion (3)
Sunday, March 8, 2009 (2:30 – 4:00pm)

As we discussed last month, the klesas are the 5 related afflictions that disturb consciousness: avidya means spiritual ignorance. Because of the circumstances of our perception and existence, we identify with changeable nature rather than unbounded consciousness, causing us to feel vulnerable and alienated. This misidentification engenders asmita, egoism, where we confuse the seer (consciousness) with the instrument of seeing (the human self). Asmita gives rise to the feeling states of raga and dvesa, attraction and aversion, and abhinivesha, clinging to life, or as Mehta’s commentary suggested, desire for continuity.

Avidya and asmita are abstract and difficult to understand. What is spiritual ignorance? How do we understand egoism when it seems the ego is asking the question? How do we achieve the necessary perspective?

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