Dukha & Sukha

Yesterday, I had a dark dukha day. I was feeling small and sorry for myself – I got down on my mat and wept. Luckily, the Heart of Yoga was laying near by…Writings from Desikachar’s “Heart of Yoga”:

Sometimes terms such as “suffering”, “troubles”, or “sickness” are used to explain the meaning of dukha, but it is best described as a feeling of being restricted. Dukha is a quality of mind that gives us the feeling of being squeezed. There does not need to be any physical pain to experience a feeling of great dukha. The level on which dukha works is the mind. Dukha is nothing but a certain state of mind in which we experience a limitation of our possibilities to act and understand. Even if we do not have the need to express our feelings in tears, somehow we feel disturbed deep within ourselves, painfully bound and restricted.

When we feel a sense of lightness and openness within, then we are experiencing the opposite of dukha, a state that is called sukha. The concept of dukha plays an important part not only in yoga but in every significant philosophy of India. There is dukha at different times in the life of every human being. We all have the goal of eliminating dukha. That is what the Buddha taught. That is what the Vedanta strives for. That is what yoga tries to achieve.