Every time we experience pleasure in life, a memory impression, called Sanskaar, is formed and deposited into our Chitta. Because of that Sanskaar-impression, we desire to have that experience of pleasure again. If that desire cannot be fulfilled, we feel pain and discomfort. If that desire is uncontrollably intense, we experience severe suffering and affliction. The desire for, and clinging to past pleasure is called Raag in the Yoga Sutras.
Raag is a very powerful cause of suffering and so, very difficult to overcome. It dominates and steers our mood, colors our Chitta, and corrupts our consciousness. Raag contains within it the fear of not experiencing a given pleasure again. Each time Raag leads us to experience that past pleasure again, the memory-impression in our Chitta becomes even more strengthened. This memory-impression soon becomes intense and creates an addiction; this addiction influences our future actions. A high-calorie sweet dish, a cologne, a perfume, a cream, a beautiful person, a fascinating tourist sight, an angelic voice or melody, an intoxicating substance – they can all fuel our desire to re-enact pleasure again and again, failing which we feel intense pain, suffering, agony, and affliction. More than any other affliction, it is Raag that acts like an emotional trigger to create deep patterns in our consciousness and consequently get us involved in uncontrollable, addictive behaviors.
Rishi Patanjali, in Yoga Sutra 2:1, suggests Kriyaa Yoga (self-introspection, disciplined choices and surrender to the Higher Power) as a powerful corrective tool to reduce our involvement with all these harmful external objects. This reduction in involvement will finally empower us to counteract Raag.
So, come let us all make use of Rishi Patanjali’s Kriyaa Yoga tool. Let’s use self-observation (Swadhyaya) to identify and assess our unhealthy emotions and desires; let’s wisely understand that desire-as-fire never stops burning and so, let’s choose to return to our past when we were not addictively involved (Tapah); and let’s make way for divine presence (Eeshwar Pranidhaan) to replace harmful connections with unhelpful people and unhealthy objects.
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