Thanks to Facebook I get to see a lot of stuff posted by my ‘FB friends”. Recently I came upon this wonderful drawing that depicts a rhinoceros paining various nature scenes on canvas. Around the main half-finished canvas, lie other finished paintings depicting various nature scenes previously painted by the rhino artist. The beauty of the whole thing lies in the fact that each and every one of the paintings has a huge rhino horn running through the center of the painting! Such a beautiful depiction of how our “perception” affects the world around us.
Because the rhino couldn’t realize that the horn was “his/hers” and not part of the scene, the horn became an essential part of everything the rhino ‘SAW’.
This is so true of so many of humans who perceive the world through distorted ‘filters’. Those warped filters that distort everything we see, thus creating a world that doesn’t really exist in anyone else’s perception!
Swamiji called this phenomenon “seeing non-existent saber tooth tigers everywhere”. This tendency to jump the gun, triggers off our inherent, every alert, stress mechanisms and then we end up a glorious mess.
These colored, prejudiced, warped filters have been succinctly termed as “Kleshas” by Maharishi Patanjali, that mastermind of masterminds in the Yoga Darshan (Yoga Sutra).
Most of our problems stem from the five psychological afflictions (pancha kleshas). Ignorance (avidya) is usually the start of most problems along with the ego (asmita). Then, our sense of needing to survive at any cost (abinivesha) compounds it further. Both attraction (raaga) to external objects and the repulsion (dwesha) to them needs to be destroyed in order to attain tranquility and equanimity of mind.
Maharishi Patanjali says that the practice of kriya yoga (Yoga of mental purification) consisting of tapas, swadhyaya and ishwar pranidhana (atman prasadaman) is the means to destroy these five mental afflictions and attain to the state of samadhi or oneness with the Supreme Self or the Divine.