Yoga Sutra - Sādhana Pada 2.3
अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशः क्लेशाः ॥३॥
avidyā-asmitā-rāga-dveṣa-abhiniveśāḥ kleśāḥ ||3||
Ignorance, I-am-ness, attraction, aversion, and desire for continuity are the afflictions.
The impediments [to samādhi] are nescience, ego, desire, aversion, and clinging to life.
The kleśas have been referred to throughout the commentaries thus far, and implicitly referred to at the beginning of the text itself in I.5 where the vṛttis are stated as being kliṣṭa or akliṣṭa. Patañjali now formally introduces them here. As we have encountered elsewhere, Patañjali’s method when he presents a sūtra containing a list is to discuss each item subsequently in separate sūtras, so the five kleśas will be examined individually in the next sūtras. Kleśa is often used as a synonym for duḥkha, suffering, and, indeed, saṁsāric existence, which Patañjali will describe below as duḥkha, is perpetuated as a result of the kleśas.
When these kleśa impediments to samādhi are in full force, says Vyāsa, they strengthen the influence of the guṇas, produce karma, the law of cause and effect, and, by mutual interaction, bring forth the fruits of karma. Patañjali will later define these fruits as the type of birth, life duration, and life experience a person generates in accordance with the quality of actions he or she performs. By “mutual interaction,” elaborates Vijñānabhikṣu, anticipating the next sūtra, Vyāsa intends that the kleśa of ignorance breeds the remainder—attachment, ego, aversion, and clinging to life—and these produce further ignorance in a vicious cycle. Thus, when ignorance is destroyed, so are the other kleśas. In short, these five impediments, which are all located in the mind, trigger and perpetuate saṁsāra, the world of change, that is, of birth and death.
Recall that Patañjali stated in I.5 that the vṛttis can be kliṣṭa, that is, produced by these kleśas, or akliṣṭa. If we take the latter term literally, this seems to indicate that there can be vṛttis that are not produced by the kleśas, that is, not subject to ignorance, attachment, etc. This can point only to the notion of the jīvanmukta: someone who is still embodied and thus functioning with a citta, but a citta that generates vṛttis that are not subject to ignorance, ego, attachment, etc. Recent scholarship (Whicher, 1998, Chapple 2008) has consistently and persuasively argued that it is a misconception to consider Yoga to be a radical withdrawal from the world; rather, it entails enlightened engagement with the world, that is, action stemming from akliṣṭa–vṛttis. There are certainly solid grounds to support this position.
avidyā (f.) a(not) + vidyā, wisdom, knowledge, from √vid (know)
asmitā (f.) I-am-ness, eogity; from asmitā, first person singular indicative of as (be)+ tā, feminine suffix denoting “having the quality of”
rāga (m.) attachment, passion, love, desire; from √ranj (be reddened, be attracted)
dveṣa (m.) aversion, repulsion, hatred, dislike; from √dviṣ (hate)
abhiniveśāḥ (n. nom. pl.) desire for continuity, clinging to life, will to live, tenacity; abhi(to,toward)+ ni(down, into) + veśa (enter)
kleśāḥ (n. nom. pl.) affliction, pain, distress; from √kliś (trouble, afflict)