1.33 मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षनां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुन्यविषयाणां भवनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम्

maitrī-karuṇā-muditopekṣāṇāṁ sukha-duḥkha-puṇyāpuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaś-citta-prasādanam

maitrī – friendship; karuṇā – compassion; mudita – joy, delight; upekṣāṇāṁ – indifference, disregard; sukha – happy; duḥkha – suffering, unhappy; puṇya – virtuous; apuṇya – wicked; viṣayāṇāṁ – with regards to; bhāvanātaḥ – causing to be, cultivating the attitude; citta – mind (consciousness); prasādanam – clearing, calming:

The mind(consciousness) becomes purified (calmed) by cultivating the attitude of friendship towards the happy, compassion towards the miserable, goodwill towards the virtuous and (benevolent) indifference towards the wicked.

1.33  maitrī-karuṇā-muditopekṣāṇāṁ sukha-duḥkha-puṇyāpuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaś-citta-prasādanam

The mind {consciousness) becomes purified (calmed) by cultivating the attitude of friendship towards the happy, compassion towards the miserable, goodwill towards the virtuous and (benevolent) indifference towards the wicked.

Vyāsa poses the following question prior to the… or to introduce the verse, and he asks: “The method of cleansing the mind prescribed in the Śāstras – what is it like?” So now this verse of Patañjali is in response to that question. So, I’d just like to mention first, that although in the translation I’ve used ‘mind’, I do not mean ‘mind’ just as being the ‘manas’… what’s called ‘manas.’ Although we are referencing it as being the mind, we’re talking about the state of consciousness – total content and the nature of the conditioning of that particular mind.

This instruction may seem, for many people unfamiliar with the Vedic or yogic teaching, to sort of like just come out of nowhere, but actually there is an intimate connection between what is being discussed and everything else. This particular instruction can serve as a “roadmap” for life when encountering others, which of course we must do unless we are living as a hermit. Even someone living as a hermit will, from time to time encounter others, and this is the roadmap.

So what has been spoken of here, is that there are two fundamental ways of interacting with others, and this will be according to the sixth sūtra or śloka, which states: “The five mental states are 1) correct understanding of what is, 2) false understanding of what is, 3) conceptualization, 4) deep sleep and 5) memory.

Now two of these… the first two, deal with what is called right perception – pramāṇa- viparyaya. So pramāṇa references right perception, correct understanding. And viparyaya references misconception or false understanding. So, these two ways, or states of consciousness – one of them is liberating, and the other one binds the living being to material existence. The mental or emotional effects of encountering different types of people while under the influence of illusion, they result…or they have a resultant impact upon the observer as being either love or hate, or an attraction or repulsion, and the idea of someone being a friend or being an enemy. And of course, there is a resultant entanglement and a deeper connection with the five mental states or vṛttis as a result of this type of consciousness.

So the idea of someone being ‘my’ friend or ‘my’ enemy, or someone I am attracted to or that I am repulsed by… the ‘my’ that we use when we make those statements or have those thoughts, is solely in reference generally, to the body… the gross physical body or the subtle body. And we come to these conclusions; we feel the idea of attraction or repulsion, based upon what is categorized as mental concoction – something that I feel will be beneficial to me, or disadvantageous. And it is all based upon not a deep spiritual understanding… I mean quite often when we interact with others, we do not see them as spiritual beings. We see the body and the nature of their mind, and how they react and relate to us, and then we react to that – either what we call in a positive way, or a negative way. So here these instructions lead to a clarity of the mind, and they require an actual control of the mind. If we take these principles and apply them to how we deal with other living beings, this will be greatly beneficial for us in our path towards spiritual enlightenment or liberation. So, “The mind (consciousness) becomes purified (calmed) by cultivating the attitude of friendship towards the… (what’s described here as)…happy.”

 Vācaspati Miśra – one of the other commentators… early commentators on the Yoga Sūtra, states that: “By showing a friendly disposition towards those who are happy, and those who are virtuous, the containment of envy is removed.” So these references to happiness… and you can see here it’s tied with the idea of virtuousness, and it’s not talking about a moment of levity – somebody drinking and cracking a joke, or bursting into loud shouts on what was called ‘New Year…the Big Countdown.’ We are talking about a consistent state, where somebody is living in a state of some calmness and happiness, and there is tranquility in their life. And such persons…we will see that by nature, they manifest the qualities of being virtuous, so one is encouraged to cultivate an attitude of friendship towards such people.

The nature of material life is that it produces misery, so in this second category of people that’s been referenced here as being miserable, this is not a reference to a person’s financial or educational exposure, or any of these kind of things. When a person is…tends to be more self-centered, and starts moving towards greediness and self-absorption, it will always produce misery, and one is advised to look upon people that are broadly considered miserable with compassion. So, “… compassion for those who are suffering…” and the…it states that the contamination of the desire to inflict harm on others is removed. So, this is quite an amazing reference towards…you know, this idea of compassion – ‘karuṇā’. That when one manifests compassion for others – those who they perceive and understand to be suffering – then the desire to inflict harm on others, which is considered a contamination, becomes removed.

One is encouraged to manifest goodwill in general towards the virtuous, and now towards what are described as those who are “wicked” – that one needs to manifest an “indifference”. However, it should be understood and appreciated that this indifference that’s been spoken of, is a benevolent indifference. It is not that one does not feel any compassion towards what’s categorized here as “wicked”, but one should maintain some distance.

Equanimity towards the impious… this maintaining of equanimity; of balance. What happens is that the contamination of intolerance becomes removed. We generally feel towards those that may be classified as wicked, or those that we despise or really dislike, that we develop intolerance. This intolerance is actually the result of… simply the workings of the mind, and for one to feel intolerance one must not be able to look at the other person as being an eternal spiritual being. One must…one is forced to actually only look at that which is exterior; that which is material, and that inspires a level of intolerance. There is this beautiful description in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam – Lord Kṛṣṇa defines tolerance as: “To patiently endure unhappiness.”

So while some connection, or some exposure to those that are here classified as ‘wicked’, may cause some unhappiness, one does learn to tolerate that. Intolerance means I feel compelled to generally react in a negative way towards it. So, envy and the desire to inflict harm, and intolerance that we’ve spoken about here, are actually characteristics of the modes of passion and ignorance – rajas and tamas. And so, becoming free from their influence, is actually necessary if one is to spiritually advance.

I’d like to just close out this sūtra with a wonderful verse from the Bhāgavat Pūraṇa, which speaks to the same subject. And it states:

“An intermediate or second-class sādhaka (meaning one who is engaged in sadhana on the spiritual path) they are called a madhyama-adhikārī,  and such a person offers his love to the Supreme, is a sincere friend to all those devoted to Īśvara, shows mercy to the ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

In this very wonderful verse, it takes the point that is mentioned here by Patañjali and explains it from a different light. So, it is understood that there are three broad classifications spiritual advancement – the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, the madhyama-adhikārī, and the uttama-adhikārī. So the…each one of these platforms that may contain quite a broad range of spiritual development. It is not like there are just three very simple steps – people are going through transitions. But those in that middle class, they do have this characteristic. Thank you very much.