Raga in Yoga Meditation
QUICK EXPLANATION ON RAGA
Raga = veil of attraction
Raga = third of the 5 kleshas (which means coloring or veil)
5 kleshas: avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, abhinivesha
Raga = When Consciousness appears to be an individual, which happens after the veils of avidya and asmita are added, it can look at the rest of the apparent manifestation and start to like parts of it. When a sensory impression comes into the mind and ahamkara colors it with like, with attraction, it means the another veil is added, namely that of raga. This adds another false identity to “me”, because it is the appearance of “I” who likes, so anything colored with raga is immediately related to me.
In daily life you can witness raga easily in relation to ahamkara. As soon as a new sensory impression comes in; witness if it gets labeled by ahamkara and if so which coloring does it get: raga or dvesha? Do you enjoy it or you not enjoy it? Do you think it is beautiful or ugly? Tasty or bad? Both are colorings of attachment because now this impression will be stored in the unconscious mind-field, waiting for the day it can pop-up again. Both will add to the collection of false identities, because we instantly think when we like something that “I like it”.
Notice the degree of raga
If you witness how the sensory impression gets labeled, notice if you can be aware of the degree of the coloring. Is it heavily colored, meaning does it have a big attraction? Or is it a minor coloring and it doesn’t really matter what happens with it. Probably by being mindful of the coloring it already has less effect on you, but you may also witness the power of raga, which can be quite strong!
Raga and emotions
As soon as something gets colored with raga, it gets stored in the chitta. One day this samskara will bubble up and because of the coloring of raga is has a quality of attraction to it. When you succeed in getting what you want the effect will be emotions like happiness, pride, greed, or anything related to a “smiley face”. When you do not succeed in getting this desire the emotions related to a “frown face” will be the effect, which are emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy, or frustration. It is extremely useful to know that these emotions are unavoidable when something is colored with raga; a sensory impression is now colored and will be stored (can’t escape this process) and will one day bubble up as active desire (can’t escape this either) and will have an outcome (this too cannot be avoided) so raga leads to emotions. Knowing this you can also observe your emotions and find out if it was raga or dvesha that caused this emotion.
To like something you have to be in avidya
Know that you first have to be in avidya to be able to color something with like, with raga. Because there has to be the illusion that there are two, how else can one have an opinion about the other. So avidya and asmita might naturally enter into your conscious awareness when you start to observe raga.
Dis-like without coloring
If you are living in reasonable non-attachment (vairagya) you can still enjoy things, but this is done with complete awareness that it has nothing to do with your true nature and it doesn’t matter if it stays or goes. In this state of being buddhi stays sharp and can still judge a situation. But since it has nothing to do with you it doesn’t add any raga, and therefore doesn’t form a samskara.
Remember it is all a play of Consciousness
To be less influenced by raga, you want to become constantly aware that all the apparent manifestation is but merely a dance of Consciousness, nothing is you or belongs to you, all is one, how can you like or dislike anything if it is all one and the same?!?
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DAILY OBSERVATION AND YOGIC SELF-AWARENESS ASSESSMENT
Eventually the concept of raga will swim around in your awareness all the time, as it becomes a part of constant self-awareness. Also, becoming aware of raga will have the effect that you will increase your use of this word in your daily vocabulary to express yourself and you will discover how raga relates to other concepts, processes, or insights. For example, you may come to see difference between ahamkara and raga, or you see a relationship between raga and vikalpa. Eventually you will discover how all these concepts dance together and coming to know this dance will guide you towards that which is beyond all the concepts. This is because as you increase your self-awareness, you will discover that everything you can observe is not who you truly are, you are not raga, you are the One that is able to witness all these concepts. Therefore raga has to be transcended; who you really are is beyond any attraction. This will increase the non-attachment towards raga, while you can be in awe of the beauty of the Divine dance of Consciousness that appears to play as an individual, therefore only appears to have fear. Therefore practicing self-awareness is actually practicing not-self-awareness by which the True Self will eventually reveal itself.
Look at the self-assessment PDF (assessment-yymmdd.pdf) and a PDF that includes daily internal dialogue and daily observation (sumseven-110410yymmdd.pdf) on the website of www.abhyasaashram.org (when you are on this page scroll all the way down to find the downloadable PDFs) These PDFs can be used as tools to explore and expand your understanding on raga.
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YOGASUTRAS ON RAGA
1.37 Or contemplating on having a mind that is free from desires, the mind gets stabilized and tranquil.
vita raga vishayam va chittam
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2.3 There are five kinds of coloring (kleshas): 1) forgetting, or ignorance about the true nature of things (avidya), 2) I-ness, individuality, or egoism (asmita), 3) attachment or addiction to mental impressions or objects (raga), 4) aversion to thought patterns or objects (dvesha), and 5) love of these as being life itself, as well as fear of their loss as being death (abhinivesha).
avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha
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2.7 Attachment (raga) is a separate modification of mind, which follows the rising of the memory of pleasure, where the three modifications of attachment, pleasure, and the memory of the object are then associated with one another.
sukha anushayi ragah
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SWAMI RAMA ON RAGA
Raga means “attachment toward the objects of the world due to the misconception of their true nature.”
~ Sadhana pg. 74
“Attachment [raga] is always a source of misery, no matter who or what you are attached to, while love is a source of liberation. Attachment is dependent on others or on a particular object that will inevitable change, whereas love is dependent purely on knowledge and the reality. For example, if the person whom you claim to love changes, your feelings for that person will also change. Being attached to someone may give you pleasure, but that attachment could also lead you to dvesha.”
~ Sadhana pg. 80
”Rajas creates raga (attraction or attachment) and dvesha (aversion or hatred) toward the objects of the world. One whose life is controlled by rajas remains continually active, for he constantly pursues the objects of pleasure. He is never satisfied and is always seeking new sources of pleasure. That way of being can lead to hypertension and many other diseases and does not allow the student to discipline and control himself. Often the student functions under the sway of unconscious habits of a rajasic nature and acts without knowing and understanding why he is doing so.”
~ The Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita pg. 384
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SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON RAGA
Read the whole article “Two faces of Emotions in Yoga Psychology” on www.swamij.com
Two types of desires and emotions: There seems to be no limit to the diversity of our desires. However, the desires all operate in only two directions. Either we want something or some outcome, or we want to avoid something or some outcome. Every desire falls into one of those two types.
Similarly, there are only two categories of outcomes once those desires become active and play out. Either we attain our desired outcome, or we do not attain our desired outcome. From those, there are at least hundreds of emotional responses, although all of those emotions are of only two types or directions as well.
In Yoga psychology all of these pairs are related to the kleshas (colorings) of raga (attraction or drawing towards) and dvesha (aversion, pushing away, or opposition) as described in Yoga Sutras 1.5 and 2.1-2.9. These are accompanied by the klesha or coloring of the fear of the loss or “death” of the matrix of attractions and aversions that collectively define who we (incorrectly) think we are at the level of personality and physical body identity.