Yoga Sutra 2.33, Part 1

by Richard Parenti ©

“Words Don’t Teach, but the Application of Words in Everyday Life Does”

Yoga sutra 2.33 (vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam)*

  • vitarka = uncertainty, doubt, questionable
  • badhane = opposing, removal, suspended, annulment
  • pratipaksha = opposition, opposite, adversary
  • bhavanam = thought, manifesting, producing, imagining

Yoga Sutra 2.33 says, “When negative thoughts present themselves cultivate and think the opposite thoughts with feeling;”1 “To obstruct thoughts which are inimical to Yoga contrary thoughts will be brought. 2 And, Swami Veda says, “When misratiocinations (When logic and reason have gone haywire [Editors’ definition of misratiocinations]) and deviant thoughts present themselves one should counter these by cultivating and impressing upon oneself the opposite principles in contemplation.”

For all this to make sense this article will come in two parts. Part 1 is basic understanding of Yoga Sutra 2.33 and very importantly how the law of cause and effect plays the key role in implementing with meaning this yoga sutra in your life. Part 2 is all about the how-to implement yoga sutra 2.33.

So, first before one can understand how to move to the opposite thought a little knowledge of thought-energy is important. This is what I was told in 1974 while in lying in bed reviewing my life, when suddenly a voice spoke to me, “Energy follows thought and returns to its source, you, the map-maker. In other words, thought reproduces itself in the material world of matter. What you think about most with positive or negative feeling you manifest. Your thoughts are a preview of coming attractions in your life. You are responsible for everything in your life and you attracted it all through sloppy thinking and healthy thinking. There is no fine print to this.” Of course, at first I thought I was hallucinating, but deep inside there was no mistake in what I experienced. Direct experience far outweighed a hallucination.

Here are some examples that I thought of over the years to prove to myself that the law of cause and effect was true. I have over 100 more examples, but these few will suffice.

  • I thought of living and working in Europe. Result: I lived and worked in France, Spain and Germany.
  • I thought of owning a Porsche like my college roommate. Result: One year after graduating from college I owned a Porsche just like my roommate.
  • I thought of spending quality time with my best friend in Mexico if I had a way to make a living. Result: Worked in the field real estate finances, living on my best friend’s yacht in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, spending quality time with him.
  • For one year I thought of getting a divorce without ever mentioning it to anyone, but before I said anything I was served divorce papers.
  • I thought of opening a yoga center. Result: Opened the first Yoga center in Modesto, California, in 2000, which now only mentors students on “Chitta Prasadanam,” Emotional Mastery, based on yoga sutra 1.33 and on yoga sutra 2.33.

Now, where do you begin to implement yoga sutra 2.33 in your daily life? It begins with the study of and application of yoga sutra 1.33 in your life; for as you contemplate the words in this article you will realize that words don’t teach, but their application in the world does and yoga sutra 1.33 has a direct connection with yoga sutra 2.33.

Implementing yoga sutra 2.33, you start to shift YOUR energy from negative to positive thought by recognizing THAT A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE BEGINS with the understanding that FEELINGS ARE THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNIVERSE, WHICH ORIGNATE IN YOUR THOUGHT PATTERN. You get what you feel! You are a vibrational being living in a vibrational universe.

And by realizing you have control over only one thing and that is your thoughts. In other words you have the power to choose the thought you want to think: Love or hate, positive or negative…your choice. Realize it is not possible to go directly from hate to love and mean it. If you hate and say to someone you hate, “I love you,” your subconscious simply registers a lie and stays with the hate feeling of negativity and that’s what you radiate and vibrate to the world, a bundle of hate, because the universe doesn’t hear what you say, it hears what you mean, what you think and feel.

So, how can we move from negative thoughts to positive thoughts and mean it with feeling? The following is a brief overview of how to begin the process of implementing yoga sutra 2.33 with the specific how-to tools and deeper explanations in Part 2.

  • First, you can interrupt the negative thought simply by acknowledging your thinking about something or someone with negativity and realizing that your Inner Being is thinking about the same thing or person with love and compassion. Note the contrast.
  • Second, it is important to make peace with where you’re at by saying something like, “I’m thankful for where I am, who I am and what I have in the moment and it’s all right because I am where I am and I’m eager for what’s coming.”

By interrupting your thoughts and making peace with the situation or yourself you begin to shift your energy, and now we want to stabilize in good feeling, which takes practice and that is what’s at the heart of yoga sutra 2.33.

You can do that by embracing negativity, reaching for the next best thought, understanding contrast, remembering your favorite memories,  writing in your book of positive aspects (good things about yourself or others), appreciating the contrasts within you and in life, and lastly appreciating your qualities and all that life has to offer. This will all be discussed in Part 2.

But first, for these modalities to make any sense it is important to get an understanding of the law of cause and effect and the role it plays in understanding how to use yoga sutra 2.33 to your benefit and growth.   

Note that from wherever you stand in your negativity do the process(s) that feel the best. Don’t force a process if it doesn’t feel right. And if nothing feels right pet your dog or cat and if you don’t have one borrow your neighbors and if that fails drink some warm milk and sprinkle some cinnamon on top and then take nap, but not while driving your car.

Now that you’ve taken your nap let’s look very specifically at the impact that the law of cause and effect has on yoga sutra 2.33.

Law of cause and effect says: Thought is a force. Thought is magnetic. Thoughts are things waiting to become reality. The more you think the same thought, which becomes a belief, the more you think it, the more like-minded thoughts you attract until they manifest in an experience. And when, what you think and feel is in harmony, be it negative or positive, you manifest a representation of that for you to experience.

And when, what you think and feel are different you sabotage, slow down or block what it is you say you want. What you feel is at the core of yoga sutra 2.33.

A thought emits a feeling. How you feel is the key to the law of cause and effect and is equal to your vibration. 

Examples: If I worry about my health I attract ill-health. If I blame others for the way the world is I will continually find support from other negative outlets, like other negative people, negative TV programming, etc. If I think and feel I’m brilliant I will attract conversations around that, if I think and feel I’m a great lover I will attract people and situations like that to me to experience to support my belief. If I think and feel I’m a martyr I will attract situations to fulfill that. If I think and feel I will master the laws of the universe then I will attract information, situations and people to expand my awareness to this realization. If I think I’m a clever tax dodger and the feeling of fear is attached to that thought then I will attract people and situations to fulfill my fear, like the IRS. If I talk about my money problems I will continue to have money problems because the law of cause and effect never sleeps. And if I persist to think negative about my ex-husband, ex-wife, in-laws, co-workers, bosses, acquaintances or friends I will continually attract negative behavior from them every time I see them.

And when, what you say and feel are not in harmony then you are creating confusion and frustration within. 

Therefore, nothing is more important than you feel good. Feel-Good is at the core of the law of cause and effect and yoga sutra 2.33.

Remember, you create your own reality and you do so because the thoughts that you are thinking cause you to emanate a vibrational frequency that the law of cause and effect is constantly responding to. And so, in all waking moments, you are creating your own point of attraction and everything that you experience is coming to you because of your vibrational emanation and the response to the law of cause and effect.

It is as if you are standing on a sort of spinning vibrational disc and only things of the same vibration can join you on your disc. Depending upon the thoughts that you are thinking and the emotions that you are feeling, the disc you are standing on can and will change.

How you feel is your point of attraction and is equal to your vibration.  They mean the same thing.  So what you are vibrating is how you are feeling and that equals what you attract to you to experience.  Therefore, nothing is more important than you feel good.

More on the law of cause and effect: The more you focus on negative thoughts the more negative thoughts you attract to yourself and the stronger they become in you they start creating more havoc with your mind, body and feelings delaying your good. It’s an endless cycle of negativity.  This is the real insanity.

On the other hand when focusing on feelings of appreciation, happiness, hope, love, joy and peace, all such emotions are positive and uplifting and so act on the body and mind to restore and maintain balance and harmony and actually stimulate circulation and nutrition bringing to you wonderful experiences. 

The one who does not allow himself to focus on or be influenced or controlled by fears or forebodings is the one who ordinarily does not yield to discouragements or disappointments.

He who focuses on thoughts that evoke feeling good about oneself is continually drawing to him/her good things to happen. The good feeling thoughts are continually helping to actualize his/her vibration in the realm of the material and spiritual worlds. 

Remember, that which you are feeling, that which you are thinking, that which you are oozing, that which you are vibrating, that which you are being, that which you are (think & feel) is your point of attraction.  As you think and feel you attract.  You are the attractor of all your life experiences.  Not one other in the entire universe has anything to do with what’s coming to you.

Therefore, there is nothing more important to understand than to know how to feel good because the way you feel is the very basis of the law of cause and effect and yoga sutra 2.33.

What’s active in your vibration is your point of attraction.  In other words what you are thinking and feeling is your vibration in the moment and that is your point of attraction and is the law of cause and effect at work in your life.

Remember, thought evokes vibration and feeling evokes vibration. Thought and feeling combined generates your point of attraction.

In the final analysis it is how you feel that is at the core of your point of attraction and at the core of the law of cause and effect, which act on your success or failure in implementing yoga sutra 2.33 in your life.

You will soon realize it’s your perspective on others and events that causes you to expand. And the law of cause and effect is there helping you to this realization thru the application of the how-to tools to move your energy to the opposite thought so yoga sutra 2.33 becomes part of your life and are not mere words that you quote at dinner parties or yoga events.                                                             


*Swami Satchidananda

1 Richard Parenti

2 Swami Vivekananda

Note: Other people who have influenced me in this article are: Dr. Rammurti Mishra, Walt Baptiste and Abraham-Hicks

About Richard Parenti

Richard Parenti is initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition by Swami Veda and has studied with such notables as Swami Brahmananda Sarasvati, Abraham-Hicks and Walt Baptiste. He is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher ERYT 500 and guest lecturer for graduate students at California State University on the subject of Emotional Mastery (Chitta Prasadanam). Richard is certified by the MS Society of Northern California to train yoga teachers how to teach yoga to people with multiple sclerosis. He is the author of Emotional Sobriety: Feel-Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press 2013. After returning from a 40-day silent retreat in the Himalayan Mountains in India he authored Cancer, No Easy Choices; Naked Before God; Who Am I; and Your True Self all which appeared in Himalayan Path Magazine. Since 2000 he has been the spiritual director of the Yoga Health Institute in Modesto, California, USA.

Editor’s Note:

Swami Veda Bharati has written a book Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (vol 2): With the Exposition of Vyasa (A Translation and Commentary). (Sadhana-Pada)



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