It’s funny how at certain times, a Yoga Sutra can seem either mundane or impenetrable to me. Yet at other times, the same one suddenly seems very illuminating. Such was the case when I came to Sutra 1.8, the counterpoint of 1.7 discussed last week. Sutra 1.8 mentions incorrect knowledge or misapprehension i.e. wrong understanding. OK, fine, we all experience this. I then read about Duhkha and Sukha in The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar.
Duhkha is describe as a kind of darkness of the spirit- the sense of constriction, feeling bound up, or to me, that sense of being “out of sorts”, sometimes without knowing why. Sukha is the opposite, a sense of good space, lightness, peace of mind.
Actions arising from incorrect knowledge create duhkha- sometimes immediately, sometimes much later. Desikachar powerfully comments that an action based on correct knowledge harbours no Duhkha. So it sets free our peace of mind. Yet how impossibly difficult, when so often, we believe ourselves to be acting “with the best intentions”- i.e. we think at the time we are using correct knowledge yet hindsight proves it not to be so.
For me, Desikachar’s comments provide another perspective with which to view my thoughts and deeds and their impact, particularly in creating that sense of Duhkha. Once again it asks us to put a mirror up to ourselves for the causes and the remedy. This could take awhile!
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.