Rising Above Negative

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 77

Contd. from knowledge sheet 76


“Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam’’ (II Sutra 33)

Vitarka = improper thoughts; Badhane = troubling ; Pratipaksha = opposite; Bhavanam  = side.


“When improper thoughts trouble you, then take the opposite side.”



When the opposite of the above bother you, when your mind rebels against these principles, then you bring up the feeling which is the opposite. What is that? He says,


“Vitarka himsadayaha krutakaritanumuditalobha krodhamoha prvaka mrudumadhyadimatra dukhajnanantaphala iti pratipaksha bhavanam’’ (II Sutra 34)

Vitarka = opposite values; Himsadayaha = violence towards others and the rest; Krutha = doer; Hima - karita  = cause of the action; Anumoditaha = the approver of the action; Lobha = greed; Krodha = anger; Moha = delusion; Prvaka = followed; Mrudu = slight; Madhya = middle; Adhimatra = intense; Dukha = sorrow; Agnana = ignorance; Ananta = infinite; Phala = results; Iti = thus; Pratipaksha = opposite; Bhavanam = thinking.


“The opposite values like violence towards others and the rest, when done by the doer, the cause of the action and the approver of the action are followed by greed, anger, delusion and ignorance which could be slight, middle or intense and result in infinite sorrow, thus the opposite view of thinking should be taken.”


Violence, untruth, all these are opposing values. They are better done by us or we make somebody else do it or we agree with somebody who did it. There are three types. Either you directly indulge in violence or you have someone else to do the job because do not want to do it or when someone else does it you just agree with them and you approve of it. You approve somebody else’s action. These three come from lobha (greed), krodha (anger) and moha (delusion). When you are greedy you make somebody else do the action. Greed, violence, untruth are all negative principles. When a person is greedy he does not see things as they are.

When a person is angry and obsessed with anger, his discriminating mind gets clouded. He does not know what is what. When you are acting or approving some action, see behind it if there is anger in you that is letting you do that job. “Is it not entanglement, delusion that is stimulating me for this action?” Effect of this could be mild, medium or excess and what do they give? They bring sorrow or dukha, agnana or ignorance. This what being opposite to you do. When you know this that it is only going to cause you more pain and suffering, then you shy away from these acts. You will not adhere to these.

There are millions out there in the world who are engaged in violent activity. Why? They do not even know that their activity is going to get them more pain and suffering. They are ignorant of it, ignorant of the pain and suffering. Suffering is not palatable, not pleasing to anyone in this world. Not even an ant wants to suffer. Not even a cockroach likes suffering. No human being wants to suffer. But people are engaged in criminal activities because they are not aware that it is only going to give them more suffering, more pain, and more ignorance. Isn’t it? So see this. Wake up!

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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.)