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Chapter 3: The Yoga of Anguish

So it is right to ask this question: How can anguish be yoga? Bliss can be yoga, but how can anguish be yoga? But anguish can be yoga precisely because it is only an inverted form of bliss; it is bliss standing on its head. You are still a man whether you are standing on your feet or on your head. Even what we call the opposite of our self-nature is just our self-nature standing on its head. Whatever we call insanity - even though it is a perversion of our self-nature - is still a part of our self-nature.

Gold that is mixed with dirt is called impure gold. We may ask why we call it “gold” when it is impure - but it has to be called gold; even with these impurities it is still gold. It has to be called gold because the impure element in it can be burned away and the gold that was mixed with the dirt can again become pure.

It is called “the yoga of anguish” because the anguish in it can be burned away and the yoga, the meditation in it, can be saved - and the journey to anand, to bliss, can be made.

No one has ever come upon such a state of anguish that he cannot return to his true self-nature. Even in the deepest state of anguish the path leading back to one’s true self-nature remains intact. It is for the remembrance of this path that yoga is being mentioned - and this anguish is happening for that very reason.

Why is anguish there in the first place? A rock never feels anguish. It never feels anguish because it can never feel bliss either. This is the reason why anguish is felt. In a deep sense it is because of a memory of bliss. It is a remembrance of the fact - somewhere deep within our consciousness the understanding is there - that our consciousness is not able to be what it actually can be, is not able to attain what it actually can attain; that what is possible is not actually happening. This is the reason why anguish occurs.

Hence, the greater a genius a person is, the more deeply he will fall into anguish. Only idiots don’t fall into anguish - because they have no means of comparing. An idiot has no idea what he can become. For someone who knows what he can become, for someone who knows that bliss is possible, the darkness of anguish will become more pronounced; he will feel the anguish more intensely. One who knows about the morning will find the darkness of the night to be very dark. But for one who has no idea about the morning, even the night may appear to be the dawn - and he may find the night quite acceptable.

Even the state of Arjuna’s anguish is being called “yoga” here, because an awareness of anguish only becomes possible when it is contrasted with our self-nature. Otherwise it cannot be seen.

No one else on the battlefield is going through such a yoga of anguish: Duryodhana is not going through anything of the sort!

Yesterday, while I was returning from the talk, a friend asked me, “You have talked about Duryodhana, but what do you think about Yudhishthira? I agree that Duryodhana is not feeling anguish, and in any case he is not a good man. But Yudhishthira is a good man; he is Dharmaraj, the lord of religiousness. Why isn’t anguish happening to him?”

This needs to be given some thought.

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