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Yoga-Sutra

The second Chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - contains instructions for our Practice - Sadhana Pada.

Sadhana-Pada

Sentence 9

svarasvahi vidusho-'pi samarudho-'bhiniveshah ||9||

स्वरस्वाहि विदुषोऽपि समारूढोऽभिनिवेशः ॥९॥

svarasvāhi viduṣo-'pi samārūḍho-'bhiniveśaḥ ॥9॥

Anxiety (abhinivesha) arises spontaneously and can even dominate your entire existence. ||9||


sva = proprietary; belonging to oneself
rasa = nature, essence, core
vāhī = carrier
viduṣa = guru
api = (conj./prep.) even
samā = fully; completely
rūdhaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from rūdha ) dominating
abhiniveśaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from abhiniveśa) deep seated anxiety; fear of death; will to live

Anxiety and love – the basic drivers of human action

Human action is primarily driven by love and anxiety, which are actually the only emotional states that exist. Hence we always have a choice between them. Whereas love helps us to advance along our spiritual path, anxiety, as Patañjali says, hinders our spiritual progress. The choice between love and anxiety is the determining factor when it comes to the nature of our everyday experience. If we opt for love, our lives will be filled with gratefulness, esteem, trust, joy, and much more. If we opt for anxiety, rage, aggression, rejection and indifference will be our lot.

For example, when a small, anxious dog encounters a large dog of which the smaller dog is afraid, the latter’s immediate reaction will be to growl and bare his teeth. This is a classic example of how anxiety induces anger and aggression. And if the larger dog responds in kind by barking at and attacking the smaller dog, the situation will escalate and the smaller dog’s anxiety may have fatal consequences for him. Thus anxiety (abhiniveśa) is an extremely hazardous burden (kleśa), not only for spiritual aspirants but also for diminutive dogs.

You also need to bear in mind that anxiety can arise for no apparent reason; for anxiety is an emotion that lies latent in all of us and that can be provoked by a trivial incident, as anyone who has ever had a panic attack knows all too well. This type of anxiety can be extremely intense, to the point of total obsession.