Psychology of Yoga and Meditation
In connection with the Yoga Sûtra, I told you last time that the practice consists of overcoming and subduing the kleshas.
Klesha can be translated as compulsive urges—an instinctive type of impulse, or an inescapable mechanism, things that man is subject to, specifically understood as ignorance about the being of man and of the world.
(1) ignorance (ávidyâ). It is not to be confused with the unconscious—it has nothing to do with that, rather it is a not-knowing about the causes and their identification.
The further kleshas are:
(2) egoism (asmitâ): egocentricity, a certain subjectivism, attachment to the I;
(3) attachment to sensory objects (râga);
(4) hate (devsha);
(5) compulsion to live (abhinivesha) in the sense of an attachment to life, not being able
to separate, this life anxiety, something that we all know only too well. If a dark cloud
appears somewhere, half the civilized world trembles. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 14
The kleshas are karma, a highly remarkable concept. It describes the disposition that we take with us into life, which causes us to live out a certain meaning, in a certain way.
Our entire life destiny is dependent on this karma. It is the sum of the consequences of earlier existences, in particular the last existence before this one.
What I lived there, I take over into my new existence with me.
What we call “I” is an illusion and is ended by death.
But karma remains, a complex of the consequences of life, which arises anew, being carried over into a new existence. This is how Buddhism explains it.
It is its intention to bring karma to an end, namely by recognizing that I act in such and such a way for certain reasons and therefore that I might stop doing this in order to be free of this karma that compels me to take up a new existence over and over again.
Through the kleshas a burdensome karma is created.
But if it is possible for me to quell these kleshas through yoga so that they no longer have an effect, then I do not create karma for myself that compels me to live. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 16
By concentration (dhâranâ), Patañjali understands the captivation of the cittam (i.e., ordinary consciousness) in a specific place, in other words, concentration through meditation (dhyâna), i.e., through contemplation of what I observe in the state of captivation and then through meditative consciousness (samâdhi), i.e., introversion, i.e., the focusing of all my interests upon this point.
Through this total restraint comes into being, i.e., in this way I can get hold of the kleshas by concentrating so that the kleshas no longer function automatically and can no longer cause me to lose myself in some sort of worldly interest.
In brief, this is the purpose of the yoga method. Until recently every educated Indian experienced this. Every superior Indian has his guru who instructs him in this method.
No one can be a priest, philosopher, or psychologist if they have not practiced this method. No one would ever just settle down in a quiet corner and read a few volumes of periodicals.
This concerns one’s own body. It has different levels and practices, e.g., Râja Yoga or Hatha Yoga.
I don’t want to comment on this—this is a matter for the Indians. I have never met a European who has really benefitted from this method. Read Brunton’s book or the author of Bengal Lancer.
This latter has described with refreshing openness a white man’s experiences with yoga exercises. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 17
In the Yoga Sûtra 2.3 Patañjali lists the five kleshas: ignorance (ávidyâ), egoism (asmitâ), attachment (râga), aversion (dvesha), and the fear of death (abhinivesha). ~Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 11-12, fn 118
kleshas: By this term one understands instinctive elements in the unconscious that actually should be repressed or at least diminished. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 11-12
The Yoga Sûtra says: egoism, ignorance, attachment, aversion, and fear of death weaken you. Ignorance (ávidyâ) is the ground for all other vices or kleshas. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 12
Klesha, Sanskrit, meaning “trouble” or “affliction.”
“These factors, which can be compared to the drives of an earlier generation of psychologists, provide the cognitive and motivational framework for the ordinary individual enmeshed in conditional existence (samsâra) and ignorant of the transcendental Self.”
According to Patañjali, kriya-yoga aims at the attenuation of the kleshas. ~Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 11-12, fn 117