Yoga Sutra ii.4 “avidya ksetram uttaresam prasupta tanu vicchinna udaranam”

“Lack of true knowledge is the source of all pains and sorrows whether dormant, attenuated, interrupted or fully active.”

This sutra is identifying that ignorance specifically spiritual ignorance “is the source of all other obstacles such as arrogance, desire aversions” etc.  To live is to experience suffering.  What most do not realize is that we create our own suffering.  We cannot feel pain and sorrow without also feeling joy and happiness.  Both pain and joy must be experienced before we can recognize the difference.  We learn this early in our lives.  But what takes longer to realize is that we are responsible for creating the suffering from these emotions.  We may feel dejected and disappointed when the outcome we wanted does not occur, i.e. we did not get the job, make the grade etc.  So much of our happiness and well being is based on our attachment to outcomes or to the value we allow someone else to give to our lives.  If we live in the future or for someone else how will we stop the cycle of self inflicted suffering?

When we stop looking outside ourselves for gratification and validation we can begin to listen from within.  We can begin to know ourselves and find our truth by always taking the correct action and following the correct path.  How will we know what these are?

The sutras state that “the ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word and deed destroys ignorance, the source of pain.”  This knowledge comes “by dedicated practice of the various aspects of yoga”.  Following the yamas and niyams changes our thoughts and actions.  Practicing asana, pranayama and pratyahara changes and purifies our bodies.  Practicing dharna, and dhyana leads us to samadhi and the realization of our true selves.