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International Infopage for Ashtanga Yoga

Sadhana Pada

Sentence 12

klesha mulah karma ashayo drishta adrishta janma vedaniyah ||12||

क्लेशमूलः कर्माशयो दृष्टादृष्टजन्मवेदनीयः ॥१२॥

kleśa-mūlaḥ karma-aśayo dṛṣṭa-adṛṣṭa-janma-vedanīyaḥ ||12||

Obstacles (kleshas) are the breeding ground for tendencies that give rise to actions and the consequences (karma) thereof. Such obstacles are experienced as visible or invisible obstacles. ||12||


kleśa = obstacles on the spiritual path
mūlaḥ = (nom. from mūla) root; cause; basis
karma = actions and consequences
aśayaḥ = (nom. from aśaya) tendencies; holdover
dṛṣṭa = visible; present
adṛṣṭa = concealed; future
janma = life; world; domain
vedanīyaḥ = (nom. vedanīya) to experience; to take notice

How kleśa determines the course of our lives

kleśa can all too easily determine the course of our lives if we fail to take corrective action. If we allow klesha to run rampant in our lives, we desperately seek to gratify one wish after the other like a dope addict who constantly needs a new fix. In such cases, we lose control over our own lives and become the puppet of external circumstance. Advertising becomes the arbiter of what we need and want. Like rabbits being chased by hounds, we rush headlong through out lives, driven by anxiety. A technique I’ve found useful is to imagine what I would do if my worst fear came true. When I do this, I realize that such an eventuality is not nearly as threatening as I thought it was, and that although my life would never be the same, new opportunities would arise. In the final analysis, we really don’t have all that much to lose. We come naked into the world and whatever worldly goods, success or the like we accumulate over the course of our lives, we leave them behind us; for as the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” This knowledge enables you to make all decisions in state of calm. You become the player rather than the ball. You take control of your life and determine the course of your life anew each day.

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