Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Sutra 5, Chapter - Samadhi Pada

Updated: May 28, 2020

" vrttayah pancatayyah klista aklistah "

vrttayah - Vrittis are

pancatayyah - Five types, each is of two kinds

klista - That which is accompanied by pain

aklistah - that which is not accompanied pain

The previous yoga sutra talks about what happens to the mind when it is not in a steady, arrested state; the mental modifications - vrittis - emerge from elsewhere.

In this yoga sutra Patanjali says that the number of thoughts any individual can have is very large owing to the myriad aspects of the the material world the mind can traverse over a given period of time. This can be very confusing for someone who has resolved to arrest these thoughts for stopping the Citta from experiencing any modifications further.

But still, it is possible to categorise these large number of thoughts under 5 major classes which makes controlling them comparatively easier . As it is easier to control a teaming crowd by just controlling its leaders, similarly the thoughts are subservient to their leaders, the kleshas, which are much lesser in number.

Each Klesha ( negative tendency) causes pain and it has its exact opposite akleshas ( positive tendency) which does not cause pain. As per Patanjali mental modifications, or vrittis are basically of five types, which will be explained in detail from the next yoga sutra onwards. Each one of these modification types also exhibit positive and negative tendencies: klishta or painful; aklishta or non painful. As per yoga one must overcome the painful tendencies by strengthening the non painful tendencies within oneself. Patanjali has given disinterestedness, faith, and perseverance as the three tools which can help one in strengthening the non painful tendencies within oneself.

Once a certain degree of progress in made in overcoming the negative tendencies ( klishta) by empowering the positive tendencies ( aklishta) one should get rid of the positive tendencies as well by a tool called Paravairagya, the highest type of disinterestedness, keeping the mind clean of any type of possible modifications- negative or positive - in order to achieve the final goal of uniting the individual spirit with the universal spirit.

Like the kleshas have their opposites in akleshas the four bhavas ( feelings, attitudes) often discussed in yoga also have their four opposite attitudes, feelings making them eight in total.


All the 5 types of vrittis are the products of the three gunas: gunas create bondage of the spirit with matter by providing it experience of the material world: experience generates feelings which demand repetition, or enjoyment of that experience - feelings generate samskaras or impressions on the mind which can be carried across multiple lives. Samskaras are the bonds of the spirit to the material world. Samskaras are the tendencies or desires for the material, which lead to actions or karmas: wrong karma or right karma. Karmas give birth to corresponding two classes of kleshas: klishta and aklishta.

Thus no karmas means no kleshas!

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