raga and dvesha

Attachment is that which dwells upon pleasure. — yoga sutras

Aversion is that which dwells upon pain. — yoga sutras

The man whom desires enter as rivers flow into the sea, filled yet always unmoving — that man finds lasting peace. — Bhagavad Gita

The next two hindrances are raga (attachment, desire) and dvesha (aversion). Within these are the more specific hindrances of attachment to pleasure, or sukha, and aversion to pain, or duhkha. Sukha and duhkha in themselves are simply natural human reactions. Sukha and duhkha become raga and dvesha when attachment is present, for it is in the attachment to pleasure and the aversion to pain that we get into trouble. — Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Pleasure and pain are part of life. We humans seek pleasure and avoid pain in the pursuit of happiness. But ironically, when we cling to pleasure or even cling to the aversion of pain, it instead brings suffering and loss of happiness.

Raga and Devesha, attachments and aversions, come from holding onto memories of the past. We hold onto knowledge, concepts and expectations of how life should be or should not be. We hold onto life with fixed ideas, ideals, and principles. And we hold onto possessions, people and things in hope of happiness.

Rohit Mehta says in his book, Yoga, the Art of Integration, “Man seeks security and continuity for that which is forever in a state of flux. Life is eternally dynamic and therefore ever discontinuous.” “Life can be experienced. It cannot be held.”

We seek security by holding on. But true internal security comes only from letting go. When we hold on, we are attached and in bondage and not free. True freedom and happiness comes from letting go and opening up to the present moment. In the present moment our hearts and consciousness can open and connect with the sacred core inside and the sacred in all of life, connecting us with true security and happiness.

There is a story from ancient India about a musk deer that was born with a scent of musk on his forehead. But he spent his whole life seeking and searching for this wonderful scent that seemed to be somewhere out there just around the next corner, not realizing that the scent was there already as a part of himself. — Ingela Abbott