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Yoga Ethics – Kinds Of Sorrows As Per Yoga

Predominance of pain and sorrow (duhkha) in life is the starting point of Yoga ethics. How to get rid of pain is the problem that it considers. Ordinarily, most of us feel that in life we meet with pain as well as pleasure, and although pain is much in excess of pleasure, we do strive to avoid pain and gain pleasure. But Patanjali has argued (Yoga Sutra II.15) that there is only pain and no pleasure whatever in life, because even when we feel that we have a pleasurable or enjoyable experience, it is always accompanied by pain. It is never absolutely free from pain. Patanjali has described them as follows –

Consequential pain – when we get accustomed to any kind of enjoyment of pleasure, and inevitably there are delays or hindrances arising in its course, they give rise to pain. This pain is a necessary part of enjoyment of that pleasure.

Pain of deprivation – when one enjoys pleasure, someone else is deprived enjoyment of it. One always enjoys pleasure at someone else’s cost. There is no pleasure which may be free from such deprivation or exploitation suffered by someone.

Pain of strengthening craving – Craving for pleasure is strengthened by repetition of enjoyment of pleasure, because the traces of that experience go on accumulating with every event of enjoyment. This is bound to work as an obstacle in the way of progress on the spiritual path.

But although life is full of these kinds of pain, even in the wake of enjoyment of pleasure, there is no reason for despair, because, according to Yoga Darshana (II. 18), just as sorrow is a prominent fact of life, its complete end also is an equally emphatic and unmistakable fact of life.