Patanjali Yoga Sutra — स्थान्युपनिमन्त्रणे सङ्गस्मयाकरणं पुनरनिष्ट-प्रसङ्गात्॥3.52॥

sthānyupanimantraṇe saṅgasmayākaraṇaṃ punaraniṣṭa prasaṅgāt

As there is always a risk of being enticed or allured by extraterrestrial life forms for sensual enjoyment, yogis should be able to reject such temptations with a firm mind.

Who are these ‘Extraterrestrial life forms’? They could be demigods (like Devendra), Gandharvas, fallen yogis, yakṣas, kinnaras, who are apprehensive of their positions being snatched away by these accomplished yogis, etc. We have come across such instances in our Mythological stories. When viśvamitra maharñi’s penance was intense, Mahendra becomes scared of losing his ‘Devendra’ designation (Kingship of gods) and sends Menaka, a beautiful dancer from heaven, to mess up the penance of viśvamitra. Menaka was so stunning and gorgeous that, not being able to control himself from this enticement, viśvamitra Maharṣi stops his sādhana and sexually enjoys with Menaka, giving birth to śakuntala. Thus, at least for a temporary period, his sādhana was spoiled. Similar tricks were used by Devendra on many occasions, thus destroying sādhakas’ sādhana and made them face lots of pain and misery.

No one can deny the possibility of yielding to worldly temptations and all the scriptures of all the religions warn the sādhakas accordingly and Bhagavān says:

तं विद्याद् दुःखसंयोगवियोगं योगसञ्ज्ञितम्।

स निश्चयेन योक्तव्यो योगोनिर्विण्णचेतसा॥६.२३॥

Taṃ vidyād duḥkhasaṃyogaviyogaṃ yogasañjñitam|

sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo’nirviṇṇacetasāGītā 6.23

The sādhaka should understand that severance from misery itself is Yoga and this must be observed (like a vow) with utmost fortitude and courage without fear of failure (and without being carried away by the worldly temptations. anirviṇṇacetasā is totally dedicating to yogasādhana.).

Men are attached to one or the other kind of miseries. So long as the senses are fastened to the worldly desires, the miseries are inevitable. It is said, the nature of the mundane, material world (saṁsāra) itself is as such. Even śrīrāma, one of the incarnations of Lord viñṇu, was not spared and had to undergo lots of trauma. Bhagavān reiterates here that disconnection (viyogaṃ) with such an undesirable melancholy itself is yoga. Only a yogi can withstand such miseries of life and can come out successfully with all his endurance or fortitude.

Duryodhana was an important character in Mahābhārata. On many occasions, Lord Kr̥ṣṇa tries to advise and correct Duryodhana. But Duryodhana says, ‘Kr̥ṣṇa, you need not advise me about dharma and adharma. I know what is dharma and what is adharma better than you; my problem is not that. My problem is something different. I cannot do what is dharma and I cannot resist myself from doing adharma’. We know what is right and what is wrong. But we have an obsession to do what is wrong. It is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Why does it happen like this? It is all about decision making. How to make a decision? Look at the following diagram.

In the above diagram, I have selected the option ‘A’ by rounding up as well as by ticking the ‘Right’ mark next to ‘A’. Whereas option ‘B’ is left as it is. This is because I know pretty sure that option ‘A’ is dharma/right and option ‘B’ is adharma/wrong. This is the wrong method of selecting, says Patañjali (वितर्कबाधने प्रतिपक्षभावनम्॥2.33॥). Why? Though I have selected ‘A’, I have left ‘B’ as it is. There is every chance that I may choose ‘B’ sometime later. Then what is the right method? Look at the diagram below:

In the above diagram, besides selecting option ‘A’ by rounding up as well as by ticking the ‘Right’ mark next to ‘A’, I have also put ‘X’ mark next to ‘B’. That means, I have completely rejected the option ‘B’ and there is no chance of selecting ‘B’ even in the future. Because I know it is adharma/wrong. This kind of decision making is very strong and we never yield to any kind of enticement or temptation.

In 1972, a psychologist named Walter Mischel (a professor at Stanford University) performed a research study. In this study, the 4 to 5 years kids were asked to sit in different rooms. They were offered a choice between one immediate marshmallow, or two marshmallows if they waited for a period of some time. During this period, the researcher left the room for about 15 minutes. The kids were being observed secretly through CCTV. The footage showed that some kids were struggling to control their temptation. Their struggle was very funny and entertaining. Some kids could not control the temptation and taste by putting a finger in it; some could not resist and ate the full marshmallow; some kids managed to control the temptation till the researcher returns and got the second marshmallow as a gift for having waited patiently (delayed gratification). The researcher followed these children for the next 40 years. The kids who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeed in whatever assignment they were given. Their IQ, as well as EQ, were very high compared to those who could not control temptation!

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