Yoga Sutra 1.5

 In Yoga Sutras

Yoga Sutra 1.5: वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाक्लिष्टा


vṛttayaḥ pañchatayyaḥ kliṣṭa akliṣtāh

(vṛit-tie-a-ha pancha-tie-a-ha klish-tah Ah-klish-tah)


There are five kinds of vṛittis that either cause mental affliction or lead to samadhi


  • वृत्ति      vṛtti – the effects of the thoughts on the mind/consciousness, modifications of the mind
  • पञ्चतय्य pañchatayyaḥ – fivefold, five parts
  • क्लिष्टा  kliṣṭa – painful, cause more suffering, afflicted
  • क्लिष्टा  akliṣtāh – painless, do not cause suffering, not afflicted*

*Sanskrit Tip: When the letter “a” is found in the prefix of a word it can “negate” the meaning of the word, changing the meaning to the opposite. For example, here we have the word kliṣṭa meaning Painful followed by the word akliṣtāh meaning Painless.

Our minds are directly affected by the world around us and the information that we receive from our environment. Events, actions and even our thoughts themselves have an effect on our mind (this is one reason people say to be aware of how you speak to yourself in your head.) The way in which the mind is affected is known as vṛtti.   The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali explains that there are 5 vṛttis which will either lead you closer to the yogic path of liberation or cause more suffering and pain. Yoga Sutra 1.6 defines the 5 vṛttis.


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