Heyam Dukkham Anagatam! – On a Positive Note!

Heyam Dukkham Anagatam! – On a Positive Note!

Yoga may be one of the few branches of disciplines and philosophies that try to emphasise the importance of positive human efforts rather than restraining yourself and turning away from the world in the search of truth. Patanjal Yogasutra is almost considered like a bible of yoga. The way Bhagvad Gita is treated in Hindu Philosophy, i.e. most of the Hindu sects unanimously agreed to its philosophy, same way Patanjal Yogasutra is treated by all the branches of yoga. There is another similarity between Gita and Yogasutra. Both of them are interpreted by the authorities in a way they found it logical and proper. With Yogasutra, as a name suggests, they are the sutras means small sentences in a condensed form like an atom that has a capacity of tremendous potential meanings. Each sutra of this ancient scripture can be interpreted with many shades and details.

“Heyam Dukhham Anagatam “ is a sixteenth sutra of the second part of Patanjal Yogasutra called Sadhanapada. Dukkham means suffering, Heyam means something that can be wiped out, destroyed. Now the question is what kind of suffering can be destroyed? The answer is given in the same sutra which says “Anagatam”, means suffering that is not materialized yet, i.e. suffering which we will face in the future. This is because according to Yogasutra there are three types of sufferings. Whatever we have suffered in the past belongs to the first type of suffering. We have already faced it, it’s over and hence we don’t need to destroy it. Second one is current suffering that we destroy by facing it. Third and the most important is what we are going to suffer in the future. According to Yogasutra we can destroy this type of suffering.

I keep on reading Patanjal Yogasutra but never think I fully understood it. It’s because every sutra has so much potential within and can be interpreted in many ways according to the person’s perception. So I like to pick up what I understand. The mere thought of killing future pain, distress, misery always attracts my attention and hence I always feel that this philosophy is built up on a positive foundation. Searching ultimate truth is mostly treated as a path of seclusion and leaving material world. Sometimes it goes to the extreme to consider the material world as an illusion. It doesn’t talk about pain or sufferings and even if it talks it says that all the sufferings ends when you attend salvation. But Yogasutra talks about killing the suffering that comes in the future. That makes a lot of difference. When we apply this sutra on the physical aspect of Yoga we find that it perfectly fit on the material level also. Yoga on a physical level always considered more as a preventive measure than a cure which is again the prevention of a future sufferings.

This is the world of getting negatively influenced by the media. Media dictates what to buy and what to use. They decide your choice by hammering their make believe marketing strategies. And media also plays most important role with the bombardment of news, stories, serials, advertisements and other programs that pump nothing more than anxiety and insecurity in your system. Contrary to this when I read Yogasutra I always see the light of hope because it firmly believes in prevention in a positive way. There can be a lot of debate about the ways of Yogasutra that are described in the scripture for this prevention. But as a yoga student, I wish to apply this on a very ground, physical and primary level because spiritual aspect of yoga is out of my reach at this stage.

Most of the yoga institutes that practise Hatha yoga, considers Patanjal Yogasutra as a Raja Yoga, the science of mind, but they apply many principals of Yogasutra into their daily practices. Traditionaly, the practices of Asanas and Pranayamas may be considered incomplete without applying the basic principles about Asanas and Pranayamas described in Yogasutra. While thinking of those sutras and trying to implement them in the daily practice I feel like I am following the positive note of Patanjal Yoga that firmly believes in the prevention of future sufferings, something that gives me comfort and relief.

Atul Thakur

Ref: Patanjal Yoga Darshan by Krushnaji Keshav Kolhatkar’