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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.5
वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाक्लिष्टाः
vr̥ttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭākliṣṭāḥ 

Modifications are five-fold: misery and non-misery.

vrittayah = ripples, modifications
pangchatayyah = fivefold
klishta = misery, painful,
aklishta = non-misery, not painful

Modifications are five-fold, whether they are of misery or non-misery. Some functions of the mind bring misery whereas some of them don't. For example, anger, creed, lust, etc., brings misery. Love, Kindness, wisdom don't bring misery. It depends on the attributes of the modifications. Misery is the result of the functions. Functions will result in either misery or non-misery.

Commentary by Sage Vyasha

The functions of the mind are five-fold: painful and not-painful

Painful modifications are the ground for the manifestation of Karmic residua. In the non-painful modifications, there is the knowledge of the objects. They are opposed to the action of the attributes. The non-painful modifications, even if they are falling in between two painful modifications, are non-painful only. Similarly, the painful modifications occurring in between the non-painful modifications are painful only. 


The residua on one kind are those brought about by the functions of the same kind. Likewise, the functions are being brought by the residue. The cycle of functions and residue is revolving incessantly.


Having ended the actions, the internal organ attains a condition that equals to Purusa or dissolved.


These functions being painful and non-painful are five-fold

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

There are five classes of modification, painful and not painful.

Commentary by Sri Osho


The first thing to be understood: that mind is not something different from the body, remember. The mind is part of the body. It is the body, but deeply subtle – a state of body, but very delicate, very refined. You cannot catch it, but through the body, you can influence it. If you take a drug, if you take LSD or marijuana or something else, or alcohol, suddenly the mind is affected. The alcohol goes in the body, not in the mind, but the mind is affected. The mind is the subtlest part of the body.


The reverse is also true. Influence the mind and the body is affected. That happens in hypnosis. A person who cannot walk, who says that he has a paralysis, can walk under hypnosis. You don’t have paralysis, but if under hypnosis it is said that ”Now your body is paralyzed; you cannot walk,” you cannot walk. A paralyzed man can walk under hypnosis. What is happening? Hypnosis goes into the mind, the suggestion goes into the mind. Then the body follows.

The first thing to be understood: mind and body are not two. This is one of the deepest discoveries of Patanjali. Now modern science recognizes it; it is very recent in the West. Now they say body and mind −total kin this dichotomy is not right. Now they say it is ”psychosoma”: it is mind−body. These two terms are just two functions of one phenomenon. One pole is mind, another pole is body....


The body has five organs of activity – five indriyas, five instruments of activity. The mind has five modifications, five modes of function. Mind and body are one. Body is divided into five functions; the mind is also divided into five functions. We will go into each function in detail.


The second thing about this sutra is: THEY CAN BE EITHER A SOURCE OF ANGUISH OR OF NON-ANGUISH.

These five modifications of the mind, this totality of the mind, can lead you into deep anguish, in dukkha, in misery. Or, if you rightly use this mind, its functioning, it can lead you into non-misery. It can lead you at the most into non-misery.

That word ”non-misery” is very significant. Patanjali doesn’t say that it will lead you into ananda, in bliss, no. The mind can lead you into misery if you wrongly use it, if you become a slave to it. If you become the master, the mind can lead you into non-misery – not into bliss, because bliss is your nature; the mind cannot lead you to it. But if you are in non-misery, the inner bliss starts flowing. The bliss is always there inside; it is your intrinsic nature. It is nothing to be achieved and earned; it is nothing to be reached somewhere. You are born with it; you have it already; it is already the case. That’s why Patanjali doesn’t say that the mind can lead you into misery and can lead you into bliss – no! He is very scientific, very accurate. He will not use even a single word which can give you any untrue information. He simply says either misery or non-misery.

Buddha also says many times, whenever seekers will come to him – and seekers are after bliss, so they will ask Buddha, ”How can we reach to the bliss, the ultimate bliss?” He will say, ”I don’t know. I can show you the path which leads to non-misery, just the absence of misery. I don’t say anything about the positive bliss, just the negative. I can show you how to move into the world of non-misery.”

That’s all that methods can do. Once you are in the state of non-misery, the inner bliss starts flowing. But that doesn’t come from the mind, that comes from your inner being. So mind has nothing to do with it; the mind cannot create it. If the mind is in misery then mind becomes a hindrance. If the mind is in non-misery, then mind becomes an opening. But it is not creative; it is not doing anything.

You open the windows and the rays of the sun enter. By opening the windows you are not creating the sun. The sun was already there. If it was not there, then just by opening the windows, rays wouldn’t enter. Your window can become a hindrance –the sun rays may be outside and the window is closed. The window can hinder or it can give way. It can become a passage, but it cannot be creative. It cannot create the rays; the rays are there.

Your mind, if it is in misery, becomes closed. Remember, one of the characteristics of misery is closedness. Whenever you are in misery, you become closed. Observe-whenever you feel some anguish, you are closed to the world. Even to your dearest friend you are closed. Even to your wife, your children, your beloved, you are closed when you are in misery because misery gives you a shrinking inside. You shrink. From everywhere you have closed your doors.

That’s why in misery people start thinking of suicide. Suicide means total closure – no possibility of any communication, no possibility of any door. Even a closed door is dangerous. Someone can open it, so destroy the door, destroy all possibilities. Suicide means, ”Now I am going to destroy all possibility of an opening. Now I am closing myself totally.”

Whenever you are in misery you start thinking of suicide. Whenever you are happy you cannot think of suicide; you cannot imagine. You cannot even think that ”Why people commit suicide? Life is such joy, life is such a deep music, why people destroy life.” It appears impossible. Why, when you are happy, it looks impossible. Because you are open; life is flowing in you. When you are happy you have a bigger soul, expansion. When you are unhappy you have a smaller soul, shrunk.

When someone is unhappy, touch him, take his hand into your hand. You will feel that his hand is dead. Nothing is flowing through it – no love, no warmth. It is just as cold as if it belonged to a corpse. When someone is happy, touch his hand, there is communication, energy is flowing. His hand is not just a dead hand, his hand has become a bridge. Through his hand, something comes to you, communicates, relates. A warmth flows. He reaches to you. He makes every effort to flow in you and he allows you also to flow within him.

When two persons are happy, they become one. That’s why in love oneness happens and lovers start feeling that they are not two. They are two, but they start feeling they are not two because in love they are so happy that a melting happens. They melt into each other; they flow into each other.


Boundaries dissolve, definitions are blurred, and they don’t know who is who. At that moment they become one. When you are happy, you can flow into others and you can allow others to flow in you: this is what celebration means. When you allow everybody to flow in and you flow into everybody, you are celebrating life. And celebration is the greatest prayer, the highest peak of meditation.

In misery you start thinking of committing suicide; in misery, you start thinking of destruction. In misery, you are just on the opposite pole of celebration. You blame. You cannot celebrate. You have grudge against everything. Everything is wrong and you are negative, and you cannot flow, and you cannot relate, and you cannot allow anybody to flow into you. You have become an island – closed completely. This is a living death. Life is only when you are open and flowing, when you are unafraid, fearless, open, vulnerable, celebrating.

Patanjali says mind can do two things. It can create misery. You can use it in such a way that you can become miserable, and you have used it. You are past masters of it. There is no need to talk much about it; you know it already. You know the art, how to create misery. You may not be aware, but that is what you are doing, continuously. Whatsoever you touch becomes a source of misery. I say whatsoever!

I see poor men. They are miserable, obviously. They are poor; the basic needs of life are not fulfilled. But then I see rich men, they are also miserable. And they think, these rich men, they think that wealth leads nowhere. That is not right. Wealth can lead to celebration, but you don’t have the mind to celebrate. So if you are poor you are miserable; if you become rich you are more miserable. The moment you touch the riches, you have destroyed them.

Have you heard the Greek story of the King Midas? Whatsoever he will touch it will turn into gold. You touch gold, immediately it becomes mud. It is turned into dust, and then you think that there is nothing in this world, even riches are useless. They are not. But your mind cannot celebrate, your mind cannot participate in any non-misery. If you are invited to the heaven, you will not find heaven there, you will create a hell. As you are, wherever you go you will take your hell with you.

There is one Arabic proverb, that hell and heaven are not geographical places, they are attitudes. And no one enters heaven or hell; everybody enters with heaven or hell. Wherever you go you have your hell projection or the heaven projection with you. You have a projector inside. Immediately you project.

But Patanjali is careful. He says misery or non-misery – positive misery or negative misery – but not bliss. The mind cannot give you bliss; no one can give. It is hidden in you, and when the mind is in a non-miserable state that bliss starts flowing. It is not coming from the mind, it is coming from beyond.

That’s why he says they can be either a source of anguish or of non-anguish. THE MODIFICATIONS OF THE MIND ARE FIVE.



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