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Yoga Sutras
Sutra 2.8

duḥkhānuśayī dveṣaḥ

Aversion is that which dwells on pain.

Translated - Swami Vivekananda

In this sutra, Patanjali introduces the concept of "dveṣa," which can be translated as "aversion" or "hatred." Dveṣa arises from the human tendency to resist, reject, or avoid experiences that are unpleasant, painful, or undesirable. This aversion is a result of the mind dwelling on and becoming emotionally reactive to experiences of pain or discomfort. When we encounter something that brings discomfort, pain, or dissatisfaction, the mind reacts with aversion, seeking to push away or avoid the unpleasant experience. This aversion can manifest in various ways, from mild irritation and dislike to strong feelings of hatred or hostility. For example, if we experience physical pain or illness, we may develop aversion towards the sensation or towards the circumstances that caused the pain. Similarly, we might experience aversion towards people, situations, or things that trigger negative emotions such as anger, fear, or sadness. Dveṣa is closely related to the concept of attachment (rāga) discussed in the previous sutra (2.7). Just as we become attached to pleasurable experiences, we also develop aversion towards painful experiences. Both attachments and aversions are driven by the egoic mind, which seeks to protect and maintain its preferences and comfort. In the context of the yogic path, dveṣa is considered an obstacle (klesha) because it creates inner turmoil and perpetuates the cycle of suffering (samsara). Aversion causes mental and emotional agitation, leading to further conflict and disharmony within oneself and with others. By recognising the impermanent nature of all experiences and observing how aversions arise and subside in the mind, the practitioner can gradually weaken the grip of aversions. With practice, one can respond to challenging situations with calmness, understanding, and a compassionate heart, rather than reacting with hatred or avoidance. Ultimately, the path of yoga encourages the practitioner to transcend the fluctuations of the mind, including aversions and attachments, and realise the true nature of the self as pure consciousness (Purusha), beyond the influence of reactive emotions and ego-driven tendencies.
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