Book 1, Sutra 5: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
“THERE ARE FIVE BASIC TYPES OF FLUCTUATING THOUGHT, ANY OF WHICH BEING CAPABLE OF CAUSING EITHER JOY OR PAIN.”
All types of thought are inherently subject to change and also any specific thought or any specific category of thought can cause changes in emotions. The thought “that rose is red” may cause joy in one person who is taking in its beauty and may cause pain to another person who owned, at one time in the past, a red rose business that went bankrupt. So even thoughts that give us joy are not dependable because those same thoughts could just as easily give us pain at other times and under different circumstances.
Patanjali is going to elaborate on the 5 types of fluctuating thought (VRTTI in Sanskrt) in the following verses but one of his main points here is to support his earlier sutra stating that Yoga is a mind without all these many types and qualities of fluctuation. So in this and the following sutras he is painting a picture of the ordinary (non-Yogic) mind so that we can recognize our own condition and contrast it with his descriptions of Yoga. That is why I believe that although Patanjali’s categories here and in other places in his Sutras are worth thinking about, the major point is that Yoga is not to be found in any of these categories because it is truly a completely different way of Being than what we normally know.