Sūtra 1.5 notes

Notes taken by Alex Eagle (Edited by Ram)

vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā’kliṣṭāḥ
Afflicted and non-afflicted vṛtti-s are five-fold.

Patañjali has mentioned vṛtti in two earlier aphorisms. Here he describes them to be five-fold.

From the reading it appears that there are five afflicted and five non-afflicted modifications.

Actually it is only five types, each one of them can be either afflicted or non-afflicted.

The question once was raised as to whether afflicted vṛtti-s are bad while the non-afflicted ones are good. This is not how one looks at vṛtti-s. Vyāsa explains the afflicted vṛtti-s are those caused by our karma and also can add to our karma load. It is easier to understand if one considers them to be the result of our innate tendencies or impulses. Acting out based on impulses almost always results in strengthening those impulses. In addition, they bring about not so pleasant results. In contrast, non-afflicted vṛtti-s are those based on and result in ‘discriminate discernment’ (Vyāsa’s commentary). One modern author calls non-afflicted vṛtti-s ‘selfless’ while the afflicted ones ‘selfish’.

Good and bad are within the realm of prakṛti, and her guṇa-s. The draṣṭā, seer, the puruṣa is untouched by prakṛti (even when one is consumed, as it were, by the mind). Thus he is forever free from these three guṇa-s. This means that my true nature, puruṣa, is beyond both good and bad, or evil.

Patañjali defines kleśa, affliction, in sūtra (2.3). Any vṛtti, mental mode driven by kleśa is a kliṣṭa-vṛtti. In this chapter he goes on to define the five-fold vṛtti-s in the following sūtra (1.6). This we will discuss in the next session in January.

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