Dealing with Modulations of the Mind

Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Knowledge Sheet 7

Contd. from knowledge sheet 6

Are you looking for proof? Debating within yourself? Are you hanging on to 'wrong knowledge' of how things are? You do not know how things are because the world is fluid. There is nothing solid here. Nobody is solid. Nobody’s mind is solid. No thoughts are solid. The whole world is fluid.

Anything can change any time, in any way. The whole world is filled with all sorts of possibilities. But your mind tries to fix everything — thought, people, ideas and places — into definite items or quantities. This is how it is. Your mind has set ideas of yourself, using proof, wrong knowledge or vikalpa, fantasies or fears or dwelling in the past. The four modulations of the mind plus sleep, that is another modulation.

Abhyasavairagyabhyam tannirodhaha

They can be restrained by practice or dispassion.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #12

How do you get over that? One can overpower this vrutti (modulation) through abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (detachment or self-centeredness).

Tatra sthithou yatnobhyasaha

Practise is that effort made to steadily be there in the seer.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #13

That which you do to be there is called abhyasa or practice. Abiding in the seer is abhyasa, that which you do to be right here, this moment is abhyasa. A little effort is needed to relieve you from the five modulations and just be here, now, now, now, now, now. Bringing the mind to the present and not dwelling on the past memories. That effort is called abhyasa. 

You can do the following practise. Close your eyes. You are not going to dwell on any logic now. That means you are free from pramana. You are not interested in proof from anything. You just observe it. You relax. You are not interested in any wrong knowledge or right knowledge, whatever.

Often when the mind has wrong knowledge, it thinks it has the right knowledge. Retrieving the mind from knowing also (from knowledge). You are not anxious to see, smell, touch, feel, understand anything... let things be the way they are. Who cares? Right or wrong, no judgement. That means that you are freeing yourself from viparyayaya and vikalpa.

If the mind is on some imagination, fantasy, just knowing that it is imagination, fantasy is enough and it fades away. Just like when you know that you are dreaming, the dream vanishes. Then free yourself from sleep and relieve yourself from all the experiences of the past. Pleasant and unpleasant experiences are gone. The moment is free, fresh and full. Being here this moment totally is abhyasa. 

The mind might try to go to the past, to smruti, or may try to go off to sleep and it can try to bring some logic and justification or some knowledge or some fantasies. Just knowing that again it is getting into the five vruttis, without aversion or craving, come back to the center, to the seer. This is abhyasa.

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)