Yoga Sutra 2.33 if there is obstruction by contrary ideas, meditation on their opposite

Sūtra II.33

If there is obstruction by contrary ideas, meditation on their opposite

When in a Brahmin, contrary ideas arise, such as harming others (in forms like) ‘I will kill him who offends me’, ‘I will tell lies about him’, ‘I will take his wealth for myself, ‘I will take my pleasure with his wives’, ‘I will make myself master of all he has’thus opposed by the blazing fire of the contrary ideas which carry him out of his path, let him meditate on the opposite of these: ‘Roasted on the cruel fires of saṃsāra, I have sought refuge in the yoga path of causing fear to none. Yet this same I, having given up the contrary ideas, am taking to them again, acting like a dog. As the dog licks his own vomit, so am I taking again to what had been given up’ – so should he meditate.

The same procedure should be applied to the items of the other sūtra (on observances).

If there is obstruction to these restraints and observances by contrary ideas (vi-tarka), namely opposing (vi-) notions (tarka), let him meditate on the opposite of these in the way which is to be explained, for unless they are countered, these ideas will cast the yogin into violence and other offences. When in the Brahmin (yogin) the contrary ideas arise. What sort of things are these ideas of violence and the rest, which are the ideas contrary to harmlessness and the other vows, and which are which? The idea contrary to harmlessness is violence: ‘I will kill him who offends me.’ Then the thought, ‘I will tell lies about him’ is the contrary idea which opposes truth. The idea contrary to not stealing is, ‘I will take his wealth for myself, and contrary to brahmacarya is ‘I will take my pleasure with his wives’, and contrary to non-possession is ‘I will make myself master of all he has’. The point is to show how in each case he is led into violence and the other sins. The idea of taking another’s wealth for oneself is caused by one’s own attachment to that other’s wealth, and becoming master of all he has is the desire to be a lord, with wealth and retainers like a prince or chief or minister.

Thus opposed by the blazing fire of the contrary ideas which carry him out of his path, let him meditate on the opposite of these: ‘Roasted on the cruel fires of saṃsāra, I have sought refuge in the yoga path of causing fear to none. Yet this same I, having given up the contrary ideas like violence am taking to them again, acting like a dog.’ This means that his action is like that of a dog, or that he who acts so is like a dog. Let him meditate on the likeness. This reinforces the point. ‘I am like that man; why should I be like that? it is not yogic’ – so should he meditate.

The same procedure should be applied to the items of the other sūtra (on observances) as well. The ideas contrary to purity – ‘I will not practise purity’ – and contrary to the other observances are to be looked at one by one in the same way. The commentary has described the principles only in relation to the restraints, because those are absolutely compulsory; the fault of omitting them is correspondingly grave, and they need special care.

 

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