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Cultivating Positive Thoughts: Insights from Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Apr 26th, 2024 | 1 Min Read
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Category: Yog Sutra


Language: English

वितर्कबाधने प्रतिपक्षभावनम्
vitarkabādhane pratipakṣabhāvanam
Translation: Contrary thoughts should be cultivated to obstruct thoughts that are inimical to Yoga.

Sutra 2.33 of Patanjali Yoga Sutra teaches us to remove hindrances that can prevent us from practising yama and niyama. When troubled by negative thoughts, we must cultivate the opposite thoughts. Yama and niyama help develop morals and values in our minds. However, for every good thing we intend to do, there can be mental obstacles that may oppose it. The same is true for our values.

Negative tendencies can be very tempting for the mind to hold on to, as they provide an accessible route. However, developing opposing trends to these negative vices within the mind is important to overcome them. This can be achieved by practising good conduct and assuming the opposite emotion immediately when negative thoughts occur. Practising non-violence is the remedy for violence, and love can subdue hatred.

A change of environment can help control negative thoughts. When angry, walk in the park and try to bring about positive thoughts. Where do the negative thoughts come from? They come from saṁskāras, or past impressions from this life and previous lives.

What are the negative thoughts? Negative thoughts are the trends opposed to virtues and values that develop in the mind. E.g.:- thoughts of violence, untruthfulness, stealing, abuse of women, uncleanliness, discontentment, etc.

By increasing love, non-violence, and truthfulness, hatred and anger can be conquered. Promote sattva guna to counter rajas and tamas. Śama (शम) is defined in the dictionary as tranquillity, calmness, peace, equanimity, tranquillity, absence of passion, and abstraction from eternal objects through intense meditation. One should take control of the sense organs to increase positivity in the mind.

The concept of 'austerity of speech' refers to using words that are not offensive but truthful, pleasant, and beneficial. Regular recitation of the Vedas also falls under this category. The Vidura Niti offers a comprehensive seven-factor solution for fostering positivity: "The seven factors that stimulate prosperity are self-confidence, tranquillity, discipline, purity, compassion, absence of harsh speech, and unwillingness to do anything disagreeable to friends."

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Patanjali Yoga Sutra [English]- 25.04.2024