1.31 दुःखदौर्मनस्याङ्गमेजयत्वश्वासा विक्षेपसहभुवः

duḥkha-daurmansyāṇgam-ejayatva-śvāsa-praśvāsā vikṣepa-saha-bhuvaḥ

duḥkha – sorrow (arising from the three-fold miseries); daur-mansya – despair, despondency of the mind; aṇgam-ejayatva – restlessness, fatigue or trembling of the body; śvāsa-praśvāsaḥ – irregular breathing; vikṣepa – distractions of the mind; saha-bhuvaḥ – arise, accompany:

From these distractions arise sorrow (arising from the three-fold miseries), despair, restlessness of the body and irregular breathing.

1.31  duḥkha-daurmansyāṇgam-ejayatva-śvāsa-praśvāsā vikṣepa-saha-bhuvaḥ

From these distractions arise sorrow (arising from the three-fold miseries), despair, restlessness of the body and irregular breathing.

Patañjali now speaks of a set of secondary disturbances arising from the disturbances previously mentioned in the last sutra. So, the first is ‘duḥkha’. Duḥkha is literally translated as unhappiness, or great sadness or sorrow, but in Sanskrit has a very interesting… If you look at the genesis of the word ‘duḥ’ and ‘kha’, which literally means, like the constriction of a space. And it again references Ayurvedic understanding of things, like the symptoms of unhappiness and when a person grieves, or they’re deeply unhappy, how it literally causes like a constriction within the body; within the chest and things. But it is a very deep word, and Vyāsa, in his commentary presents that the three sources of all suffering and sorrow, which are frequently mentioned in the Vedas, are divided into these three categories which are considered the three sources.

The first one is called ādhyātmika, the second is ādhibhautika, and the third is ādhidaivika. And what it is speaking of or referencing, is the sadness or suffering which arises from my own body or mind. So that was one category of suffering or sorrow. Adhibhautika means suffering that one experiences due to another living being – for instance another person that is causing me tremendous unhappiness, or even an insect – mosquitoes biting me or giving me disease, a dog barking at me or chasing me. So this would be considered ādhibhautika suffering. And the third was called ādhidaivika. Adhidaivika references those natural things that are beyond our control – earthquakes, great storms, excessive heat or cold, floods the type of natural disasters or natural difficulties that one may experience from material nature were within this category.

The second item which is mentioned in this verse is the ‘daur-mansya’, which is the …literally means despair or dejection. So this is a…this becomes manifest as a result of the previously spoken about things…disturbances, and this references the disturbance of the mind that arises when one’s desires are obstructed, or when things that you desire – intentionally desire or wish for – when those things do not happen. It is kind of tied to a deeper Vedic understanding of different types of anxiousness. For instance, when one desires to get something there is going to be this anxiety there, “Am I going to succeed or not?” – whether it’s to enter for a relationship with someone, to acquire a position, to acquire a certain amount of money, to acquire an experience – whatever it is. While we are contemplating on it and desiring it, there will be an accompanying anxiety of, “Maybe we’re not going to be able to get it!” Then when we acquire things that we set out to acquire, once we have them, now we experience a different type of anxiety. It is a fearfulness that I am going to lose that which I have, which really…these anxieties really do permeate our life, and in so many ways. The third type of anxiousness comes from when something is already lost. Someone has left us; something has been stolen from us; we’ve lost something that we…a position, or something that we thought was of value, and then we are overwhelmed with distress, and thinking, “If only I had have done this.” “If only something else was different.” And so, we can see that the way in which these great yogis and spiritualists analyze the nature of material existence, it was quite extraordinary.

The third disturbance mentioned here is called aṇgam-ejayatva. Aṇgam literally means like a limb…like a limb of the body. And it references… or it could be, or should be, understood in English as being a restlessness of the body. So Vyāsa here states that: “The upsetting of bodily equilibrium or steadiness results in a shakiness of the body.” And so we see this… like when a person is overwhelmed by intense anger or desire of some form, and it can quite often manifest as… you see the face, and you can see the limbs and the body sometimes trembling or shaking. We also see it in children, if somebody’s really upset about something or other, and expressing their ‘upsetness’. Kids have this tendency to not be very socially aware or exercise control, and when they get overwhelmed by the experience, you’ll see a shaking of the body manifest. Then the fourth item that was mentioned here was śvāsa-praśvāsaḥ, which means irregular breathing. So Vyāsa says that: “The ordinary process of taking in the breath and exhaling, is also associated with mental distraction. These disturbances generally take place in a distracted state of mind. They do not appear in a reposeful mind.” So, what he’s speaking of is the referencing to panting, or excessive inhaling, or hissing type noises which are usually made involuntarily, when the mind and the body is overwhelmed by different types of external influence.

We see this in our own life perhaps, and in the world around us, that as soon as a person becomes in a heightened state of anxiousness or anger; in a heightened emotional state where the mind has been deeply affected by something, there is a tendency towards a shallowness of breath. You are just breathing from the upper part of the lungs. Or like hyperventilating you know – excessive inhaling like this… or a hissing type of sound that is made. So Vyāsa states that while these manifestations accompany the nine disturbances, that they do not in fact appear for the yogi whose mind is fixed. And so, we’ll be probably talking about this a little bit later on, or further on. But there are many references and right now I’m just thinking of some in the Bhagavad-gīta in particular, where there is this constant reminder of the need to attain a state of equilibrium, where one is not affected or influenced by things that are going on around one, or things that may be even normally very disruptive in one’s life. And of course, the reason that one needs to attain this state of equilibrium…it is actually a symptom of one having gained control of of the mind, and rather than the mind being overwhelmed by emotion, and just pulling a person in one direction or the other, whether those emotions are positive… considered positive or negative. In some of the meditation and mindfulness classes that I do in maximum-security prison here in Auckland, one of the things I really try to teach people to really consider and to practice, is that in a heightened state of emotion, one should not speak, one should not act, and one should not make a decision. You need to go and do some breathing, engage in some meditation or japa meditation, and you need to calm down. And you should not make a decision – what you are going to do; how you’re going to react to something – until you are in a perfectly calm state; a state of equilibrium. And then you can consider, “How should I respond to this? What is actually in my real best interest, and what is in the best interest of the other person that I may be dealing with?” And the necessity of doing that is of course paramount, and what is happening when you do that… rather than the mind controlling you, you are now utilizing the mind, bringing it under your control, calming it, and considering what is the appropriate way to move forward from here. So, these are some of the great benefits that one derives.

One who has increasing control of the mind, is capable of making very brilliant decisions in their life, and those brilliant decisions…I’m referencing them as being brilliant simply because they produce desirable outcomes. Every time that you speak about something, every time that you act on something, there will be a consequence. And if it is our mind that is driving that, then we are not in control of our life and the consequences. The process of yoga is a process of coming to lead an extremely meaningful life; a life of great purpose and of great focus, and in this state one can attain actually the highest happiness. Thank you very much.