Year : 2016  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-36

New light on Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa Vṛttis: Based on the traditional Sanskrit commentaries of Yoga Sūtras

Research Department, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Jayaraman Mahadevan
Research Department, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai - 600 028, Tamil Nadu
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DOI: 10.4103/0044-0507.198702

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Context: Patañjali Yoga Sūtras classify Citta Vṛttis into the Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa (Desikachar, 2014, p.16). After this initial mention, there are no further discussions on this 2-fold classification of the Vṛttis in the text. Though Kleśas are discussed in the second chapter of text, the terms Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa themselves do not appear as part of discussion in the entire text after this initial mention. This gives rise to quite a few questions: What is the purpose of classifying the Vṛttis into Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa? What is meant by Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa Vṛttis? What is the nature of association of Kleśas with Vṛttis? Should both Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa Vṛttis be restrained or will it be enough if one focuses on restraining the Kliṣṭa Vṛttis? and so on. Aim: Though the Sūtras themselves do not reveal any further information on this, many Sanskrit commentaries of Yoga Sūtra, beginning from the one ascribed to Vyāsa, address these questions. The aim is to study these commentaries to find answers to the questions raised above. Method: A descriptive method of analyzing arguments is used because of the philosophico-literary nature of the study. Result: The commentaries along with presenting various possible answers to the questions on the Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa Vṛttis of the Yoga sūtras also reveal more relevant insights. Conclusion: On scrutiny of the commentaries, it becomes evident that all the techniques of Patañjali in the Yoga Sūtras, be it Abhyāsa vairagya, Kriyā Yoga, or Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, operate on the principles discussed under the Sūtra on Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa classification establishing Kliṣṭa and Akliṣṭa Vṛttis as the foundational principles of Yoga Sūtras. The diverse yogic methods and techniques that are prescribed centered onthe body, breath, emotions, intellect, etc., seem to be aimed only at the generation of progressively varying levels of Akliṣṭa Vṛttis and ultimately to overcome even these Akliṣṭa Vṛttis to attain absolute Citta-vṛitti-nirodha.

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