Obstacles & Challenges on the Path of Yoga
There are certain obstacles in the path of Yoga, which you should, by all means, overcome in the very beginning of your Yogic career. If you do not adequately guard yourself against these impediments in right time by the warning voice of your Guru, they will smash all your hopes and aspirations to pieces and will eventually bring about miserable downfall.
Lust, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, inertia, depression, prejudice, intolerance, evil company, arrogance, self-sufficiency, desire for name and fame, curiosity, building castles in the air and hypocrisy are foremost among these. You should ever introspect and watch your mind. You should take effective measures to remove these obstacles root and branch.
The Yogic student should not possess much wealth as it will drag him to worldly temptations. He may keep a small sum to get the wants of the body. Economical independence is of paramount importance to an aspirant; because it will relieve him from anxieties and will enable him to continue his practices uninterruptedly.
If you get easily offended even for trifling things, know that you cannot make any progress in Yoga and meditation. You should, hence, cultivate amiable, loving nature and adaptability. Some aspirants easily get offended, if their defects and vices are pointed out. They become indignant and begin to fight with the person who shows the defects. They think that the person is concocting them out of jealousy and hatred. This is bad. Others can very easily detect your defects but you can’t see yours.
If you have no life of introspection, if your mind is of outgoing tendencies, how can you find out your own defects? Your self-conceit veils and blurs your mental vision. If you, therefore, want to grow in spirituality and Yoga, you must admit your defects, when they are pointed out by others. You must endeavour to eradicate them and must be really grateful to the man for pointing out your defects.
It is rather a difficult business to eradicate the self-assertive nature. This nature is born of ignorance only. Everyone has built his personality from beginning less time. This personality has grown very strong. It is hard to bend this personality and make it pliable and elastic. You want to dominate over others. You do not want to hear the opinions and arguments of others, even though they are quite logical, sound and tenable. You have a pair of jaundiced eyes. You say: “Whatever I say is correct. Whatever I do-is correct. The views and actions of others are incorrect.” You never admit your mistakes. You try your best to support your own whimsical views by crooked arguments. If arguments fail, you will take to vituperation and hand-to-hand fight also. If people fail to show you respect and honor, you are instantaneously thrown into a fit of fury. You are immensely pleased with anybody who begins to flatter you. You will tell any number of lies to justify yourself. Self-justification goes hand in hand with self-assertive Rajasic nature. You can never grow in Yoga so long as you have this self-assertive nature with the habit of self-justification. You should change your mental attitude. You must develop the habit of looking at matters from the view-point of others. You must have the new vision of righteousness and truthfulness. Then alone you will grow in Yoga and spirituality. You should treat respect and honor as offal and poison, and censure and dishonor as ornament and nectar.
You will also find it hard to adjust yourself to the ways and habits of others. Your mind is filled, as it were, with likes and dislikes, prejudice of caste, creed and colour. You are quite intolerant. The faultfinding nature is ingrained in you. You jump at once to find the faults of others. You cannot see the good in others; you have a pair of morbid eyes. You cannot appreciate the meritorious actions of others. You brag of your own abilities and merits. That is the reason why you fight with all people and cannot maintain cordial relations with others for long time. You should overcome these defects by developing tolerance, love and other good virtues.
The old Samskaras (latent impressions) of vanity, cunningness, crookedness, arrogance, petty-mindedness, fighting, boasting or bragging nature, self-esteem or thinking too much of yourself, speaking ill of others, belittling others may be still lurking in your mind. You can never shine until you remove these faults thoroughly.
Success in Yoga is not possible unless these undesirable negative qualities of lower nature are completely eradicated. Those who engage themselves in hot discussions, vain debates, wrangling, lingual warfare and intellectual gymnastics cause serious damage to their astral bodies. Much energy is wasted. The astral body gets actually inflamed and an open sore is formed. Blood becomes hot. It bubbles like milk over fire. Ignorant people have no idea of the disastrous effects of unnecessary hot discussions and argumentations. Those who are in the habit of arguing unnecessarily and entering into vain discussions cannot expect an iota of progress in Yoga. Aspirants must entire give up unnecessary discussions. They should destroy the impulses by careful introspection.
You have heard several brilliant lectures, delivered by learned monks or Sannyasins. You have listened to several discourses and expositions on the Bhagavad-Gita, the Ramayana, the Bhagavata and the Upanishads. You have also heard several valuable moral and spiritual instructions. But you have not at all endeavoured to put anything into serious earnest practice and todo protracted solid Sadhana.
Patanjali enumerates the following nine obstacles: Disease, languor, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, mistaken notion (false knowledge), tossing of mind and instability to remain in the state of Samadhi. He prescribes practice of concentration on one subject (Eka-Tattvabhyasa) to overcome them. This will give the aspirant steadiness and real inner strength. He further advocates the practice of friendship between equals, mercy towards inferiors, complacency towards superiors and indifference towards wicked people. This practice will generate peace of mind or composure and will destroy hatred, jealousy, etc. A new life will dawn in him, when he practices these virtues. Perseverance is needed. It is the key-note to success in Yoga. The Yogi is amply rewarded, when he gets full control over his mind. He enjoys the highest bliss of Asamprajnata Samadhi.
Om Tat Sat !!!