4.7 The accomplished yogi, established in integration, is beyond dualities. Therefore, the yogi does not accumulate impressions that cause reactivity (karma). For everybody else, reactivity (karma) is of three kinds: positive, negative, and mixed.
The path of yoga is a lifelong journey. It starts with the desire to be present in our lives. That simple (yet profound) resolve motivates us to bring awareness into our thoughts, intentions, actions, and interactions. As we attempt to be present, we start noticing that we get distracted a lot of the time. When we observe ourselves systematically, we find some tendencies in all aspects of our being, our body, mind, emotions, and interactions (citta vrtti – ways of being). Knowing those patterns is the prerequisite for being able to modulate them, increasing life-affirming tendencies and decreasing unhelpful ones. The unhelpful tendencies generate emotional impressions that will perpetuate a cycle of further painful or irritating actions. These are the seeds of negative reactivity, called black karma in this aphorism. The helpful, life-affirming patterns plant seeds of positive change, white karma. It is safe to say that out of most people, there are very few people who are completely virtuous all the time or completely non-virtuous all the time. Most of us show a combination of virtuous and not so virtuous intentions, thoughts, actions, and interactions. This is the third kind of karma, a mix of the results of virtuous and non-virtuous actions.
This sutra explains that yogis are in a different category altogether. A yogi, somebody who is established in integration (samadhi), is a person who has gone beyond regulating tendencies. He or she has extinguished all tendencies arising from a sense of self. As a result, all actions are completely detached from expectations (vairagya) because the yogi is fully aligned with pure consciousness. Being in the natural state, the yogi’s actions are not driven by the afflictions listed in sutra 2.3, and thus, they do not accumulate unresolved emotional imprints (samskaras), as pointed out in aphorisms 2.13 and 2.14. In other words, the yogi is not trying to be virtuous or non-virtuous, because he or she is participating in the everchanging flow of life without cravings or attachments. It is those attachments that create the illusion of separation.
To what extent are you aware of your tendencies?
How are you regulating your tendencies?
Is it possible that even tendencies that used to be beneficial may no longer be serving a purpose and can be eliminated?
How many of your attitudes, intentions, actions and reactions are connected to unresolved emotional imprints from your past?
Can you notice how your present situation may be influenced by your previous intentions and actions?
Are you aware of the past impressions still active in you?
Do your actions reflect increasing evenness within you?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
4.7 karmāśuklākṛṣṇaṃ yoginaḥ trividhamitareṣām
कर्माशुक्लाकृष्णं योगिनः त्रिविधमितरेषाम् ॥७॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast:
This is an excerpt from the book Unravel the thread: Applying the ancient wisdom of yoga to live a happy life