There is an undercurrent of thought often found within Yoga communities that if we practice our asanas faithfully, pray hard enough, chant loud enough, and meditate deep enough, we do not have to face our karma. I have been told that the mental restrictions we know as the kleshas don’t have to be confronted but will melt in the fires of our devotions or the chants of our mantras if we just believe strong enough and hold on long enough. But this has not been my experience nor is it validated in the ancient texts of India. To the contrary, these illuminated writings espouse the exact opposite; the entire symbolic Gita takes place on the battlefield of the mind and is about facing our psychological enemies in order to free ourselves from all mental restrictions to realize the truth within us.

Patanjali states in his sutras that all karma has its roots in the kleshas and that karma will manifest when the time is ripe for expression. Nowhere does either of these great spiritual works deny the need to face what is ours. In fact, in The Bhagavad Gita when Arjuna drops his bow, symbolic of his karma, and states that he will not fight, Krishna admonishes him for behavior unworthy a spiritual warrior. Some karmas must be experienced, some must be overcome and others may be transcended, but all karma must be confronted.